The busiest period of the Premier League season is now over following a full fixture list across Tuesday and Wednesday, and ended with the title race shortening from three to two.

Chelsea's defeat to relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers forced Rafael Benitez to admit that his team have too much ground to make up in pursuit of the league crown, with Manchester United 14 points clear of the Blues.

It was another absorbing two days of fixtures, bringing to a close the congested festive period which saw most teams play four Premier League matches in only a week and a half.

The first round of games in 2013 also served up some fine goals to ring in the New Year, and GMF highlights the five best from January 1 and January 2.

Robin van Persie

Wigan v MANCHESTER UNITED

Robin van Persie ended 2012 with more Premier League goals than any other player (44) and began 2013 by adding another two goals to his Manchester United tally.

The former Arsenal captain now has 16 league strikes to his name for Manchester United, and few have been better than the first he netted against Wigan on New Year's Day.

Receiving the ball from Javier Hernandez inside the penalty area, Van Persie leaves the defender on the seat of his pants and curls into the far corner with his less favoured right foot.




 

Leighton Baines

Newcastle v EVERTON

The left boot of Leighton Baines has scored or assisted 27 goals in the Premier League since August 2010, and the Everton defender showed exactly why with this corker against Newcastle.

No English left-back has been able to tonk the ball so authoritatively since the days of Stuart Pearce and Julian Dicks, and Newcastle 'keeper Tim Krul can count himself lucky not to have got in the way of Baines' rasper.

It's hard to find anything to dislike about Baines with his mutton chops and shaggy hair, and the Everton star will continue to gather more fans with free-kicks like this one.




 

Shaun Wright-Phillips

Chelsea v QUEENS PARK RANGERS

Shaun Wright-Phillips undoubtedly scored the most important goal of the week as his goal against Chelsea gave Queens Park Rangers renewed hope of survival. And what a nice goal it was too.

With the ball squirming out to the edge of the Chelsea area, Wright-Phillips met it perfectly from the edge of the box - firing along the floor and past the outstretched right hand of Ross Turnball.

Wright-Phillips chose not to celebrate his goal, seemingly out of respect form former club Chelsea. Come on SWP, you're hardly Didier Drogba.




 

Raheem Sterling

LIVERPOOL v Sunderland

Raheem Sterling has enjoyed quite a rise to prominence over the past few months and, if reports are to be believed, now has one less Premier League goal (two) for Liverpool than he does children.

The 18-year-old committed his future to Liverpool shortly before the end of 2012, and showed just why the club were so desperate to keep him after another fine display against Sunderland.

Sterling opened the scoring following a lovely ball from Luis Suarez - lifting the ball over the advancing Simon Mignolet with impressive composure.




 

Luis Suarez

LIVERPOOL v Sunderland

Another two Premier League goals for Luis Suarez means the Liverpool star is now only one behind Robin van Persie in the race for the Golden Boot, and also beats his tally for the whole of last season.

Suarez now has 18 goals in all competitions for Liverpool this season, compared to 17 during the last campaign, and was at his busy best in the Reds' 3-0 defeat of Sunderland.

The Uruguayan owes plenty to Steven Gerrard for the glorious pass that led to his second goal of the evening, but can take plenty of credit for the expert control and finish.




 

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#Premier League
#Manchester United
#Everton
#Liverpool