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Soccer-Welbeck double lifts United's spirits after Villa stroll


LONDON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - England striker Danny Welbeck made the most of a rare start for Manchester United with a first-half double in a 3-0 win at Aston Villa on Sunday as the champions ended a run of four Premier League games without victory.

Welbeck, recalled in place of injured Robin van Persie, struck twice in three minutes for United who moved up one spot to eighth, 10 points behind leaders Arsenal.

United, who had suffered successive home defeats by Everton and Newcastle United that followed away draws with Cardiff City and Tottenham Hotspur, controlled the game and had the points wrapped up after Tom Cleverley's first goal of the season on 52 minutes.

Nathan Dyer scored for Swansea City but suffered a suspected fractured right angle in the 1-1 draw at Norwich City.

Tottenham host Liverpool in a later kickoff (1600). A victory for the visitors would lift them back up to second spot. (Writing by Justin Palmer, editing by Alan Baldwin)

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