LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) - Manchester United’s relentless surge towards a 20th English title continued with Shinji Kagawa’s hat-trick inspiring a 4-0 home win over Norwich City on Saturday but Ryan Giggs must wait a little longer for his 1,000 appearance after being rested.
In Giggs’ absence Japan international Kagawa took centre stage with a stunning display, opening the scoring on the stroke of halftime and scoring twice more in the second half to become the first Asian to score a hat-trick in the Premier League.
Wayne Rooney rounded off victory with a late screamer to send United 15 points clear of champions Manchester City who are away at Aston Villa on Monday.
The anticipated hostility towards interim manager Rafa Benitez failed to materialise at Stamford Bridge where his Chelsea side climbed to third spot with Demba Ba’s first-half goal earning a 1-0 win against West Bromwich Albion.
Everton revived their flagging hopes of a top-four finish and qualification for the Champions League with a 3-1 defeat of Reading. They moved to within six points of fourth-placed Tottenham and two of fifth-placed Arsenal ahead of Sunday’s derby between the north London rivals.
Bottom club Queens Park Rangers capitalised on Reading’s defeat, winning 2-1 at Southampton to leave Harry Redknapp’s side four points adrift of fourth from bottom Wigan Athletic who host Liverpool later on Saturday.
League Cup winners Swansea City avoided any hangover with a 1-0 home win against Newcastle United, Sunderland hit back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 at home to Fulham and West Ham United eased any relegation fears with a 1-0 win at Stoke City. (Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Justin Palmer)