Weekend review

Manchester rivals City and Utd kept things tight at the top after overcoming North London opposition.

City and United stay on course; Chelsea forced to share spoils

Manchester rivals City and United kept things tight at the top of the table after overcoming North London opposition in a dramatic weekend of Premier League action. The city rivals defeated Tottenham and Arsenal respectively to cement their dominance in the top two spots, while Chelsea were another capital side to suffer a setback in a goalless draw at Norwich. Robbie Keane starred against former club Wolves as Aston Villa enjoyed a derby win, while Fulham pulled off a stunning comeback to thrash Newcastle and Mark Hughes enjoyed his first league win as QPR boss over Wigan. The first clash in a blockbuster Super Sunday double-header saw Manchester City edge out Tottenham 3-2 in the dying stages at Ethiad Stadium to maintain their dominance at the top of the Premier League and put a dent in Spurs' title hopes. Mario Balotelli was the hero of the afternoon for City; slotting home a stoppage-time penalty after Ledley King hauled him down in the area late on. Debate is still raging over whether the controversial youngster should have still been on the pitch, having escaped punishment for an apparent stamp on Scott Parker earlier in the encounter. The match had burst into life in the second half, with Jermain Defoe pulling one back for Spurs after goals from Samir Nasri and Joleon Lescott before Gareth Bale curled home a stunning equaliser. Spurs' North London rivals Arsenal were also beaten by Manchester opposition as Manchester United kept the heat on City at the top of the table with a 2-1 victory at Emirates Stadium. A lively Antonio Valencia put the visitors ahead in the first half when he nodded home a well-placed Ryan Giggs delivery, but talismanic Gunners captain Robin van Persie levelled the scoreline after the break after pouncing on a pinpoint pass from teenage ace Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, making his first Premier League start. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger attracted criticism from the home faithful when he subbed the impressive Chamberlain for Andrey Arshavin 15 minutes from time and the decision proved costly, with the Russian failing to keep Valencia out of the box as he set up Danny Welbeck's 81st-minute winner. The weekend's action had started with another capital side suffering a setback after Chelsea could only manage a goalless draw at top-flight newcomers Norwich on Saturday lunchtime. All eyes were on misfiring striker Fernando Torres, who stretched his goal drought to 15 matches after failing to find the back of the net at Carrow Road. The beleaguered Spaniard blundered the best chance of the game when he somehow fired a shot wide despite being in a central position and eight yards out in the second half. Norwich fully deserved their first league clean sheet this season after goalkeeper John Ruddy and the home backline produced an organised, hard-working display to keep their high-profile opposition at bay. Robbie Keane returned to haunt his old club Wolves as he fired home a brace to inspire Aston Villa's 3-2 triumph at Molineux. Villa took the lead in the Midlands derby through an 11th-minute Darren Bent penalty after he was brought down in a clumsy tackle by Christophe Berra. Michael Kightly and David Edwards scored to turn things around in the first half but Keane's double after the break was enough to finish Mick McCarthy's side off. The Irishman, on loan from LA Galaxy, scored either side of Karl Henry's 75th-minute dismissal after he needlessly kicked out at Marc Albrighton. Newcastle collapsed spectacularly in the second half at Fulham after Clint Dempsey's hat-trick capped a remarkable Cottagers comeback. The hosts came from behind to secure a thrilling 5-2 win at Craven Cottage, with in-form Dempsey doing most of the damage. The Magpies had taken the lead through Danny Guthrie in the first half but a controversial Danny Murphy penalty spurred the Cottagers into action after Damien Duff went down under the challenge of Davide Santon. Dempsey's treble and another spot-kick from Bobby Zamora stunned the visitors, who could only bag a consolation strike through Hatem Ben Arfa in a dramatic second half which yielded six goals.Liverpool are without a win in three after suffering a deflating 3-1 defeat at Bolton, who earned themselves some breathing space after climbing out of the drop zone. The Trotters sprung the upset in emphatic style, making a dream start when Mark Davies opened the scoring within the first four minutes. Nigel Reo-Coker doubled their lead later in the first half, bringing down a Chris Eagles' though-ball before poking home from close range, but Craig Bellamy pulled the Reds back into contention just before the break. That is as far as their comeback went, however, with Gretar Steinsson lashing home for Bolton in the second half to seal the much-needed win. Mark Hughes' enjoyed his first Premier League victory as QPR boss as Rangers saw off Wigan 3-1 at Loftus Road to escape the relegation places. The hosts were leading 2-0 at the break thanks to a Heidar Helguson penalty and a superb free-kick from Akos Buzsaky. Hugo Rodallega notched a fantastic free-kick of his own after the interval before Ali Al Habsi saved a second spot-kick from Helguson, but a stunning long-range effort from Tommy Smith put the result beyond doubt for the Hoops and propelled them into 16th place. Blackburn produced a spirited display at Everton to clinch a 1-1 draw and take a share of the spoils as they bid to sidestep relegation this season. Toffees midfielder Tim Cahill scored his first goal in 13 months to open the scoring in the 24th minute, despite calls for handball after Marouane Fellaini appeared to handle in the build-up. Cahill turned villain in the second half when his poor goal-line clearance allowed to David Goodwillie to slot the ball home from close range and hand Rovers a point. It was an encouraging display from Steve Kean's men, who have lost just one of their last five but remain in the drop zone. West Brom snatched a last-gasp victory at Stoke thanks to Graham Dorrans' stoppage-time strike in a dramatic finale at the Britannia Stadium. The Baggies took the lead through James Morrison in the first half after Potters goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen failed to deal with his curling shot from the edge of the penalty area. Stoke substitute Cameron Jerome left it until the 86th minute to level things up after he headed home Jermaine Pennant's delivery but the Baggies refused to settle for a draw, with Dorrans' free-kick handing them a three-point haul and ending a run of three straight defeats. Finally, Sunderland continued their resurgence under manager Martin O'Neill after condemning promoted Swansea to a 2-0 defeat on Wearside. Stephane Sessegnon broke the deadlock in the 14th minute to put the Black Cats in charge and Craig Gardner added a late volley to seal the scoreline and hand the home side their third victory in four games.

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