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Man. City on top as United stay in touch

Man. City’s Sergio Aguero runs past Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta.

Man. City’s Sergio Aguero runs past Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta.

Manchester City stayed two points in front of champions Manchester United at the top of the English Premier League after a 1-0 win at home to Arsenal yesterday.

David Silva scored the only goal of a high-quality contest in the 53rd minute after Mario Balotelli cut in from the left and let fly with a powerful low shot that Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny did well to save but could not hold.

Sergio Aguero followed up and, as the ball came loose on the right, Silva pounced to score from close range.

City missed several chances to double their lead and were almost made to pay when striker Robin van Persie received the ball just eight yards out only to shoot weakly at England goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Then Pablo Zabaleta nearly made it 2-0 to the hosts when his shot beat Szczesny only to bounce off the keeper’s right post.

Hart then preserved City’s lead in the 90th minute when he tipped over a shot from Thomas Vermaelen that came through a crowd of players. In stoppage time, another Vermaelen strike curled just wide.

Defeat meant Arsenal, beaten for the first time in nine games, stayed fifth, 12 points behind City.

Earlier yesterday, United had returned to the summit for a couple of hours after a 2-0 win away to Queens Park Rangers.

Wayne Rooney needed fewer than 60 seconds to open the scoring at Loftus Road before Michael Carrick made the game safe for the visitors in the 56th minute.

“We should have put the game to bed after about half an hour,” United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told the BBC.

“It was a good team performance; we played some good football and will take a 2-0 win away from home.”

Meanwhile Tottenham moved up into third place, leapfrogging Chelsea to become London’s top club, with a 1-0 win at home to strugglers Sunderland.

Russia striker Roman Pavly-uchenko scored the only goal of the game at White Hart Lane just after the hour mark.

A stray ball from Sunderland’s Wes Brown found its way to Rafael van der Vaart, whose clever reverse pass allowed Pavlyuchenko to fire home the winner.

Liverpool went above Newcastle and into sixth spot with a 2-0 win away to Aston Villa.

Both their goals came from corners, with Craig Bellamy forcing the ball home from close range in the 11th minute.

And four minutes later, the unmarked Martin Skrtel rose highest to head in past Brad Guzan.

Summaries, standings

Aston Villa 0
Liverpool 2
Bellamy 11; Skrtel 15;

HT: 0-2. Att: 37,460.

QPR 0
Man. United 2
Rooney 1; Carrick 56;

HT: 0-1. Att: 18,033.

Tottenham 1
Pavlyuchenko 61;
Sunderland 0

HT: 0-0 . Att: 36,021.

Man. City 1
Silva 53;
Arsenal 0

HT: 0-0. Att: 47,303.


P W D L F A Pts
Man. City 16 13 2 1 50 15 41
Man. United 16 12 3 1 37 14 39
Tottenham 15 11 1 3 31 18 34
Chelsea 16 10 2 4 34 19 32
Arsenal 16 9 2 5 31 24 29
Liverpool 16 8 5 3 20 13 29
Newcastle 16 7 6 3 21 19 27
Stoke City 16 7 3 6 18 25 24
Norwich City 16 5 5 6 25 29 20
Aston Villa 16 4 7 5 18 21 19
Fulham 16 4 6 6 18 18 18
Swansea 16 4 6 6 16 20 18
West Brom 16 5 3 8 16 24 18
Everton 15 5 2 8 16 19 17
QPR 16 4 4 8 15 28 16
Sunderland 16 3 5 8 18 19 14
Wolves 16 4 2 10 17 30 14
Wigan 16 3 4 9 15 30 13
Blackburn 16 2 4 10 23 36 10
Bolton 16 3 0 13 20 38 9

The Championship
Portsmouth 1 - Southampton 1

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