Bale's hat trick helps Tottenham stomp Villa
Birmingham, England (Sports Network) - Gareth Bale piled more festive misery on Aston Villa on Wednesday, producing a hat trick and adding an assist in Tottenham's 4-0 defeat of the Villans at Villa Park.
Aston Villa entered the match on the back of a humbling 8-0 loss at Chelsea on Sunday.
Things were looking up after Paul Lambert's side held Spurs scoreless in the opening period of Wednesday's Boxing Day affair, but the second half belonged to Bale and the visitors.
Jermain Defoe got Tottenham off the mark in the 57th minute, latching on to brilliant through ball from Bale and firing a shot between the legs of Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Tottenham's lead was doubled four minutes later when the visitors caught Villa on the counterattack. Bale played himself in behind the Villa defense, went around Guzan with ease and slipped the ball into the empty net.
Bale added another goal in the 73rd minute when he stabbed at a delivery from Aaron Lennon, guiding the shot past Guzan at the far post. The Welshman wrapped up the affair six minutes from time when he collected a square pass from Gylfi Sigurdsson and clipped a shot past Guzan with his left foot.
After a five-game unbeaten run in league play, Villa has lost two straight by a combined score of 12-0. The Villans remain three points clear of the relegation zone, staying put on 18 points.
Tottenham improves to 33 points to go level with Everton for fourth place in England's top flight.
Stoke City 3, Liverpool 1
Stoke-on-Trent, England - Liverpool took an early lead at the Britannia on Wednesday but surrendered three unanswered goals in a 3-1 loss to Stoke City.
Luis Suarez drew a penalty in the first minute to allow Steven Gerrard to open the scoring from the spot, but Stoke responded through Jonathan Walters and Kenwyne Jones in the fifth and 11th minutes, respectively.
Walters put the result beyond any doubt four minutes after halftime, cushioning a flick-on with his chest and guiding a volley past Pepe Reina to complete his brace.
The two sides swap places in the table as Stoke jumps up to eighth place with 28 points and Liverpool drops to 10th with 25 points.
12/26 17:00:54 ET