Eduardo da Silva scored his fifth goal in three games to help Arsenal to a 2-0 win over West Ham that kept the Gunners top of the Premier League.
|Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor enjoys his 11th goal of|
the season [AFP]
With second-place Manchester United beating Birmingham 1-0, Eduardo and Emmanuel Adebayor scored to keep Arsenal two points ahead of the defending champions.
Chelsea stayed third with a 2-1 win at Fulham, while Everton and Portsmouth also won on New Year's Day.
Arsenal lost twice to West Ham last season but was on its way to completing a pair of victories in this campaign when Cesc Fabregas set up Eduardo for the opening goal in the second minute.
The Spain midfielder chipped a pass into the area and Eduardo controlled the ball on his chest and volleyed it into the net, adding to the two goals he scored against Everton on Saturday.
The Croatia striker has not been a regular pick this season, but he may be now.
He also scored two goals two weeks ago in a League Cup win at Blackburn.
West Ham's Anton Ferdinand had an effort cleared off the line by Gael Clichy and goalkeeper Manuel Almunia saved from former Arsenal midfielder Fredrik Ljungberg, but Arsenal went 2-0 ahead in the 18th.
Adebayor got past West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green and scored off the post from a narrow angle.
Arsenal moved to 50 points from 21 games, two more than United, which gave up the lead on Saturday when it lost 1-0 at West Ham.
|Big baby: Carlos Tevez celebrates his goal with |
a baby's pacifier [AFP]
Tevez keeps United in touch
United got back on track Tuesday, dominating lowly Birmingham and winning through a 25th-minute goal from Carlos Tevez.
Tevez found Cristiano Ronaldo with an overhead kick and the Portugal winger returned the ball with a back-heeled pass. Tevez ran on and shot past goalkeeper Maik Taylor from about 10 meters (yards).
Chelsea had trailed to a 10th-minute penalty from Fulham midfielder Danny Murphy, awarded when Joe Cole tripped Moritz Volz.
Fulham, playing its first match under new manager Roy Hodgson, dominated the first half by pressuring its opponent into mistakes and almost went 2-0 up when Murphy curled a free kick over the bar.
Chelsea replaced Steve Sidwell with John Obi Mikel at halftime and drew level in the 53rd when Alex headed on a corner kick to Salomon Kalou, who headed it into the net.
Michael Ballack, playing just his fourth match since returning from eight months out injured, then had his shirt tugged by Clint Dempsey in the area.
The Germany midfielder picked himself up from the ground and hit the 62nd-minute kick low to the goalkeeper's right.
Chelsea now has 44 points, seven more than fourth-place Liverpool, which hosts Wigan in one of Wednesday's four matches.
Everton moved ahead of Manchester City into fifth place with a 2-0 win at Middlesbrough, secured with second-half goals by Andy Johnson and James McFadden.
Reading had defender Ibrahima Sonko sent off in the third minute for conceding a penalty kick and went on to lose 2-0 to visiting Portsmouth.
Niko Kranjcar hit the post with the kick, but Sol Campbell and John Utaka scored to clinch victory.
In the day's late game, Aston Villa defender Martin Laursen struck the winner with five minutes remaining after Jermaine Defoe had levelled the scores eight minutes earlier.
Aston Villa had gone ahead thanks to a first half goal to Olef Mellberg as Spurs problems from set pieces continued.