LONDON: Manchester United maintained their six-point lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League with a 3-1 win over Sunderland at Old Trafford.

United had seen their advantage at the summit cut after champions Manchester City won 3-1 at Newcastle in the lunchtime kick-off.

But Sir Alex Ferguson’s side produced a convincing response with Robin Van Persie and Tom Cleverley scoring inside the opening 20 minutes.

Van Persie then brilliantly set up Wayne Rooney on the hour to seal a fifth consecutive league win. Substitute Fraizer Campbell grabbed a consolation for the Black Cats on 72 minutes.

As for City, Sergio Aguero and Javi Garcia scored before half-time against Newcastle and, while Demba Ba maintained his scoring run after 51 minutes, Yaya Toure made the points safe for the visitors late on.

QPR hauled themselves off the foot of the table with a long-awaited first win of the season by 2-1 over Fulham.

Adel Taarabt’s quickfire double in the second half finally secured victory after 17 games and lifted Harry Redknapp’s side above Reading, who host Arsenal on Monday night. Mladen Petric scored a Fulham consolation two minutes from time.

Aston Villa produced the shock of the day as they beat Liverpool 3-1 at Anfield. The magnificent Christian Benteke struck twice, either side of an Andreas Weimann goal, to inflict Liverpool’s home defeat in six games.

By the time Steven Gerrard scored a late Liverpool goal a majority of the home fans had left.

Kenwyne Jones scored his first league goal in more than a year as Stoke hit back to draw 1-1 at home to Everton.

Ryan Shawcross gifted the Toffees a first-half lead when he headed over his own goalkeeper but Jones levelled when he outjumped Phil Jagielka to head in on 52 minutes.

In-form Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini faces disciplinary action after he appeared to headbutt Shawcross during the second half. Referee Mark Halsey missed the incident but Everton manager David Moyes did not and conceded he would accept any punishment the FA might impose.

Wes Hoolahan marked his new Norwich contract with the match-winner in a 2-1 success over Wigan. The Canaries announced just before kick-off that Hoolahan had penned a new deal until 2015 and the Republic of Ireland midfielder took centre stage.

He robbed a defender to set up Anthony Pilkington’s opener and, after Shaun Maloney equalised, Hoolahan secured a third successive league win in the 64th minute.

# # #