Spurs stun United, Arsenal cling to topAgence France-Presse . London
Tottenham Hotspur hammered another nail into Manchester United’s creaking Premier League title defence with a 2-1 victory at Old Trafford on New Year’s Day.
Having won their previous six games in all competitions, United were hoping to match wins by their fellow title rivals, but instead they slumped to a sixth defeat of the season that left them 11 points off the pace.
Tottenham, unbeaten in the league under new manager Tim Sherwood, took a 34th-minute lead when Emmanuel Adebayor outjumped Chris Smalling to head home Christian Eriksen’s right-wing centre.
Eriksen added a second in the 66th minute, smuggling a header past David de Gea from Aaron Lennon’s cross.
Danny Welbeck reduced the arrears immediately from Adnan Januzaj’s incisive pass, but Spurs withstood United’s late onslaught, with goalkeeper Hugo Lloris saving from Javier Hernandez, Wayne Rooney and Nemanja Vidic.
Victory took Spurs above United into sixth place, two points outside the top four, with the defending champions three points further back in seventh.
Earlier, Nicklas Bendtner and Theo Walcott scored last-gasp goals as Arsenal edged Cardiff City 2-0 to preserve their place at the top of the table.
With former United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in attendance, amid reports he is due to succeed the sacked Malky Mackay as Cardiff manager, Arsenal dominated but had to wait until the 88th minute for Bendtner to break the deadlock.
Walcott added a second goal in injury time to rubber-stamp Arsenal’s return to first place, after Manchester City had taken temporary possession of top spot by winning 3-2 at Swansea City.
Fernando Torres gave Chelsea the lead on the hour with a close-range header after a deflected cross from Oscar came back off the post, with Willian making it 2-0 11 minutes later from Oscar’s pass.
Oscar, a second-half substitute, crowned an impressive cameo by adding a third goal eight minutes from time.
Liverpool responded to consecutive losses at the hands of City and Chelsea by winning 2-0 at home to Hull City, a result which took them back into the top four.
Daniel Agger broke the deadlock with a 36th-minute header, with Luis Suarez netting his 20th goal of the campaign with a fine free-kick early in the second half.
Everton slipped out of the top four despite Leighton Baines scoring an injury-time penalty to earn Roberto Martinez’s side a 1-1 draw at Stoke City, who had taken a 49th-minute lead through Oussama Assaidi.
Nicolas Anelka started for West Bromwich Albion against Newcastle United, despite being under investigation by the Football Association over an allegedly anti-Semitic goal celebration.
The Frenchman played for 88 minutes in West Brom’s 1-0 win, which saw Saido Berahino net the winning goal from the penalty spot with three minutes remaining.
Arsenal 2 (Bendtner 88, Walcott 90) Cardiff City 0; Crystal Palace 1 (Puncheon 44-pen) Norwich 1 (Johnson 39); Fulham 2 (Sidwell 32, Berbatov 66) West Ham 1 (Diame 7); Liverpool 2 (Agger 36, Suarez 50) Hull 0; Manchester United 1 (Welbeck 67) Tottenham 2 (Adebayor 34, Eriksen 66); Southampton 0 Chelsea 3 (Torres 60, Willian 71, Oscar 82); Stoke 1 (Assaidi 49) Everton 1 (Baines 90-pen); Sunderland 0 Aston Villa 1 (Agbonlahor 15); Swansea 2 (Bony 45, 90) Manchester City 3 (Fernandinho 14, Toure 58, Kolarov 66); West Brom 1 (Berahino 87-pen) Newcastle 0.
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