Weekend review

City and United ground out hard-fought wins, and Robin van Persie put in another heroic display.

clinched three crucial points to get them back on track in the title race. In Sunday's only encounter Gareth Bale notched a brace as Tottenham stayed in fifth place with an attractive 3-1 triumph over QPR. Harry Redknapp's men produced a slick display at White Hart Lane to take the three points and condemn Rangers to their first defeat in three games. Bale drew first blood for Spurs in the opening half before Rafael van der Vaart added another in the 33rd minute to put the home side 2-0 up heading into the break. Jay Bothroyd grabbed his first goal for QPR when he headed home after the restart but it turned out to be a consolation strike as Bale curled home a sublime second following some flowing passing play. Spurs are now unbeaten in seven games and remain one point clear of sixth-placed Liverpool, who proved too strong for West Brom as they triumphed 2-0 at The Hawthorns. There was early action in the Midlands when Jerome Thomas appeared to trip Luis Suarez in the box and referee Lee Mason pointed to the spot. Charlie Adam made no mistake in converting for the ninth-minute opener to put Kenny Dalglish's side ahead before Andy Carroll sealed the win in first-half stoppage time when he diverted a Suarez assist past the advancing Ben Foster and into the back of the net.
Entertaining
One of the weekend's most entertaining encounters came between Norwich and Blackburn, who shared the spoils in a 3-3 draw at Carrow Road. The promoted Canaries pulled off an outstanding comeback after goals from Junior Hoilett, Yakubu and captain Chris Samba had put the hosts 3-1 ahead, with Steve Morison getting on the scoresheet for Paul Lambert's men. Bradley Johnson cut the deficit for Norwich when his wayward shot was deflected home off Rovers defender Jason Lowe and the fightback was completed when substitute Grant Holt smashed home an injury-time penalty after Steven N'Zonzi was harshly adjudged to have handled in the dying minutes. Rovers' dropped points maintains the pressure on manager Steve Kean and keeps them in the relegation zone alongside Bolton, who slipped to a 3-1 defeat at Swansea. Owen Coyle's men endured a woeful afternoon at the Liberty Stadium after Ricardo Gardner was sent off following his second booking just after the break. The dismissal triggered an onslaught from the Swans, with Joe Allen netting the opener from the resulting free-kick. Scott Sinclair then grabbed the second from the penalty spot after former Swans man Darren Pratley fouled Angel Rangel in the box. The Trotters were handed a late lifeline when Danny Graham put through his own net in the 73rd minute but the Swansea striker atoned for that error late on when he slotted home the hosts' third of the afternoon. Also languishing in the drop zone after seven consecutive defeats are rock-bottom Wigan, who failed to get past Fulham at home. The Cottagers enjoyed their first away win of the season as they clinched three crucial points to get them back on track in the title race. In Sunday's only encounter Gareth Bale notched a brace as Tottenham stayed in fifth place with an attractive 3-1 triumph over QPR. Harry Redknapp's men produced a slick display at White Hart Lane to take the three points and condemn Rangers to their first defeat in three games. Bale drew first blood for Spurs in the opening half before Rafael van der Vaart added another in the 33rd minute to put the home side 2-0 up heading into the break. Jay Bothroyd grabbed his first goal for QPR when he headed home after the restart but it turned out to be a consolation strike as Bale curled home a sublime second following some flowing passing play. Spurs are now unbeaten in seven games and remain one point clear of sixth-placed Liverpool, who proved too strong for West Brom as they triumphed 2-0 at The Hawthorns. There was early action in the Midlands when Jerome Thomas appeared to trip Luis Suarez in the box and referee Lee Mason pointed to the spot. Charlie Adam made no mistake in converting for the ninth-minute opener to put Kenny Dalglish's side ahead before Andy Carroll sealed the win in first-half stoppage time when he diverted a Suarez assist past the advancing Ben Foster and into the back of the net.
Entertaining
One of the weekend's most entertaining encounters came between Norwich and Blackburn, who shared the spoils in a 3-3 draw at Carrow Road. The promoted Canaries pulled off an outstanding comeback after goals from Junior Hoilett, Yakubu and captain Chris Samba had put the hosts 3-1 ahead, with Steve Morison getting on the scoresheet for Paul Lambert's men. Bradley Johnson cut the deficit for Norwich when his wayward shot was deflected home off Rovers defender Jason Lowe and the fightback was completed when substitute Grant Holt smashed home an injury-time penalty after Steven N'Zonzi was harshly adjudged to have handled in the dying minutes. Rovers' dropped points maintains the pressure on manager Steve Kean and keeps them in the relegation zone alongside Bolton, who slipped to a 3-1 defeat at Swansea. Owen Coyle's men endured a woeful afternoon at the Liberty Stadium after Ricardo Gardner was sent off following his second booking just after the break. The dismissal triggered an onslaught from the Swans, with Joe Allen netting the opener from the resulting free-kick. Scott Sinclair then grabbed the second from the penalty spot after former Swans man Darren Pratley fouled Angel Rangel in the box. The Trotters were handed a late lifeline when Danny Graham put through his own net in the 73rd minute but the Swansea striker atoned for that error late on when he slotted home the hosts' third of the afternoon. Also languishing in the drop zone after seven consecutive defeats are rock-bottom Wigan, who failed to get past Fulham at home. The Cottagers enjoyed their first away win of the season as they triumphed 2-0 at the DW Stadium thanks to goals from Clint Dempsey and Moussa Dembele. Dempsey pounced on a Bobby Zamora cross to slot home just before the break before Dembele finished the job in the 86th minute. Stephane Sessegnon managed to rescue a point for Sunderland as they snatched a 2-2 draw with Aston Villa. The visitors went ahead at the Stadium of Light when Stiliyan Petrov notched a wonder-strike in the 20th minute, but Connor Wickham pulled the Black Cats level before the break. Richard Dunne looked to have bagged the three points for Alex McLeish's side when he headed home in the 85th minute but Sessegnon replied four minutes later to rescue the hosts from defeat.

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