Manchester Utd ride on Bulgarian's hat-trick to destroy Wigan 5-0 & move level on points with tabble-toppers City, who were held by WBA
Dimitar Berbatov fired Manchester United level on points with Manchester City as his hat-trick inspired a 5-0 win over 10-man Wigan, while the Premier League leaders were held to a 0-0 draw at West Bromwich Albion yesterday.
'Trickster: Hat-trick hero Dimitar Berbatov (centre) nets one
for Man Utd. PICs/Getty Images
Berbatov has been a bit-part player for long periods this season but the Bulgarian striker seized a chance to replace the rested Wayne Rooney with a clinical treble and further goals from Park Ji-Sung and Antonio Valencia destroyed third bottom Wigan.
United's five-goal spree -- their second in six days after a 5-0 win over Fulham -- means City are now top only on goal difference after Roberto Mancini's side suffered a rare setback at the Hawthorns. At Old Trafford, Park put the hosts ahead in the eighth minute converting a Patrice Evra's cross. United got another boost when Wigan striker Conor Sammon was harshly dismissed for an elbow on Carrick just before half-time.
Berbatov increased their lead with a clinical finish in the 41st minute and added one more from Valencia's pass in the 58th minute. Former Wigan star Valencia struck in the 75th minute and Berbatov completed his treble from the penalty spot three minutes later after Park was tripped by Antolin Alcara.
At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea's title hopes suffered another major blow as Clint Dempsey's equaliser gave Fulham a 1-1 draw against their west London neighbours. Chelsea took the lead two minutes into the second period when Spanish playmaker Juan Mata drilled his shot past Stockdale. But Fulham punished sloppy Chelsea defending to equalise in the 56th minute as American midfielder Dempsey tapped in a Bryan Ruiz cross.
Rovers hold Reds
Liverpool's top-four charge faltered despite Maxi Rodriguez's equaliser and Steven Gerrard's return from injury as the Reds were held to a 1-1 draw by struggling Blackburn. Blackburn had threatened a shock win after Charlie Adam's own goal on the stroke of half-time at Anfield.
* Sunderland 1-1 Everton
* Bolton 0-2 Newcastle