27 Dec 2012

United pull off a great Boxing Day escape as City lose ground

10:40 am on 27 December 2012

Manchester United came back three times before beating Newcastle United 4-3 at Old Trafford to extend their lead at the top of English football's Premier League.

The champions Manchester City suffered a shock 1-0 loss at Sunderland and now trail their arch-rivals United by seven points at the halfway stage of the season.

Chelsea won 1-0 at Norwich City to consolidate their hold on third place, while Gareth Bale's hat-trick saw Tottenham Hotspur thrash Aston Villa 4-0 in Birmingham and move up to fourth.

Everton are fifth after a 2-1 home win over Wigan Athletic.

Ryan Nelsen's struggling Queens Park Rangers have slipped back to the bottom of the table following their 2-1 loss to visitors West Bromwich Albion, a second-half own goal from goalkeeper Robert Green the difference at Loftus Road.

In the late game, Stoke City beat Liverpool 3-1 to climb above the Merseysiders into eighth.

Fulham drew 1-1 with Southampton at Craven Cottage and Reading played out a scoreless home draw against Swansea City.