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PREMIER LEAGUE | BOXING DAY

Boxing Day: Juan Mata shines as Manchester City stumble

A stunning strike from Mata moved Chelsea closer to City, who fell seven points behind Manchester United. 'Spanish Swansea' were held to a draw at Reading.

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Boxing Day: el Chelsea se anima; el Manchester City se estrella
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AS.com | 26/12/2012

Boxing Day in the Premier League signalled the arrival of a frenetic day of festive fixtures in the English top flight.

As always, there was plenty of Spanish involvement. At Carrow Road, Chelsea's victory over Norwich was led by former Valencia man Juan Mata. The Spain international sealed the win for Rafael Benítez's side with a stunning strike. Meanwhile, goalkeeper David De Gea also tasted victory as Manchester United sealed a thrilling 4-3 win over Newcastle United.

It was a less successful day for their fellow Spaniards. David Silva's Manchester City succumbed 1-0 to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, while Michu and Swansea could only manage a 0-0 draw at struggling Reading.

Norwich 0 - Chelsea 1

At the top of the Premier League, Chelsea refuse to give up their chase of the Manchester teams. Mata's brilliance helped the Stamford Bridge side see off Norwich, a team enjoying an excellent campaign. The visitors dominated the proceedings, and sealed all three points through a thumping effort by Mata from the edge of the area that left the 'Canaries' goalkeeper Mark Bunn with no chance. With Manchester City slipping up at Sunderland, Chelsea can look ahead to their remaining festive fixtures with no little Christmas cheer.

Manchester United 4 - Newcastle United 3

At Old Trafford, Real Madrid's Champions League rivals fell behind three times, only to be rescued by a late strike from Mexican Javier Hernández. Former Atlético keeper De Gea was beaten by Newcastle's James Perch, before United defender Johnny Evans equalised. Controversy then followed when Evans put the ball into his own net, only for referee Mike Dean to rule 'Magpies' striker Papiss Cissé offside. But after consultation with his assistant, a goal was awarded. In an eventful second half, Patrice Evra levelled again for the home side, before Cissé hit Newcastle's third. Dutchman Robin van Persie then brought the hosts level for a third time, before 'Chicharito' ensured a seven-point lead for the 'Red Devils'.

Sunderland 1 - Manchester City 0

Manchester City, with David Silva and Javi García in their line-up, fell to a speculative effort from former City man Adam Johnson. After a first half in which City pressed strongly for an opener, Sunderland began looking for a goal on the break. On one such counter, a near-post shot from Johnson squeezed under England keeper Joe Hart, leaving the defending champions further behind in the title race.

Reading 0 - Swansea 0

In a game that offered more entertainment than the scoreline suggests, 'Spanish Swansea' could not find a way through against lowly Reading. Both sides saw goals chalked off, with the away team's disallowed effort coming courtesy of former Rayo Vallecano midfielder Michu. Reading stay second from bottom. Swansea, managed by ex-Barcelona and Real Madrid star Michael Laudrup, sit comfortably in mid-table with 25 points and continue to dream of qualifying for Europe.

Stoke 3 - Liverpool 1

Liverpool, with Pepe Reina in goal, were well beaten at Stoke. Despite taking an early lead from through Steven Gerrard's penalty, the Anfield outfit fell behind to strikes from Jonathan Walters and Kenwyne Jones, before Walters scored again to seal the win for the home team.

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