Manchester City stay two points clear in England after 3-0 victory at home to Stoke
Second-placed Manchester United thrash Fulham 5-0 to open gap on Tottenham
Liverpool lose fifth place to Arsenal after drawing 0-0 away to lowly Wigan
Luis Suarez earns a penalty but Charlie Adam's spot-kick is saved by Wigan keeper
The Manchester clubs City and United moved further ahead in England’s Premier League on Wednesday, while Luis Suarez’s Liverpool lost ground on the leaders after dropping points at Wigan.
City cruised to a 3-0 win at home to in-form Stoke thanks to a double from Sergio Aguero, while United stayed within two points of their rivals with a 5-0 rout of Fulham.
Liverpool’s 0-0 draw, in which Charlie Adam missed a second-half penalty, meant Arsenal took fifth spot following a 2-1 victory at Aston Villa.
Manchester City remained unbeaten at home in 2011 after ending Stoke’s four-match winning run, as Aguero took his league tally to 13 goals.
The Argentina forward opened the scoring just before the half hour from close range and wrapped it up on 54 from Samir Nasri’s pass.
Young winger Adam Johnson had made it 2-0 from outside the area in the 36th minute.
Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney joined Aguero on 13 goals – three behind Arsenal’s league leader Robin van Persie – as he hit the target at Fulham.
Young strike partner Danny Welbeck gave United an early lead, and goals from Nani and Ryan Giggs made it 3-0 at halftime before Rooney and substitute Dimitar Berbatov netted in the closing minutes.
The win put United eight points clear of Tottenham, who host fourth-placed Chelsea on Thursday, while Fulham dropped to 13th.
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish selected Suarez despite the striker’s impending eight-match ban for racially abusing United’s Patrice Evra, as the whole squad – and their boss –wore t-shirts supporting the Uruguayan in the warm-up at Wigan.
Suarez has been one of Liverpool’s key players this season, and it was his attempted overhead kick that hit Wigan captain Gary Caldwell on the arm and earned a penalty five minutes after the break.
But Scottish midfielder Adam saw his attempt saved by goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi, and third-bottom Wigan hung on to follow up Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea and earn another vital point.
Liverpool’s lapse allowed Arsenal to move into the European qualification places and level on 32 points with London rivals Chelsea.
Van Persie netted the 17th-minute opener from the penalty spot with his 34th goal this calendar year, but Marc Albrighton leveled just before the hour for Aston Villa with the Premier League’s 20,000th goal in its 20th season.
Israel midfielder Yossi Benayoun came off the bench to head the winner from Van Persie’s 87th-minute corner.
Seventh-placed Newcastle lost 3-2 to visiting West Bromwich Albion despite a double from Demba Ba that took the Senegal striker level with Rooney and Aguero.
West Brom twice took the lead through Nigeria forward Peter Odemwingie and Gareth McAuley, then Austrian midfielder Paul Scharner volleyed an 85th-minute winner to extend Newcastle’s winless run to six matches and put his team in 10th.
Everton moved up to 11th with a 1-0 win over Swansea, as midfielder Leon Osman scored for the second successive match.
Sunderland climbed three points clear of the relegation zone with a 3-2 win at Queens Park Rangers that gave new manager Martin O’Neill his second victory in three games.
Defender Wes Brown headed an 89th-minute winner after QPR leveled through striker Heidar Helguson and Jamie Mackie following earlier goals from Sunderland’s Nicklas Bendtner and Stephane Sessegnon.