Manchester City defeated Reading 1-0 yesterday with a late goal to move within three points of arch-rivals Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table.
The champions were frustrated for long periods by a disciplined display by the Royals defence.
Reading could even have had the lead in the second half, as the visitors had a very good penalty appeal turned down. Jay Tabb appeared to be brought down young Dutch defender Karim Rekik in the penalty box.
Manchester City pressed the Royals defence and finally got their reward in injury-time.
David Silva’s cross was headed home by England international Gareth Barry. The goal could prove vital in the race for the Premier League title.
Arsenal moved back into the top four with a 1-0 victory at Wigan’s DW Stadium in the early kick-off. The only goal of the game came on the hour mark. Theo Walcott was brought down in the penalty area by Jean Beausejour.
Midfielder Mikel Arteta scored from the resulting spot-kick to move the Gunners into the Champions League places. The Latics meanwhile remain in the bottom three and face a tough trip to Everton on Boxing Day. The Gunners now sit third in the Premier League table.
Everton claimed a 2-1 victory at West Ham to move up to fourth. Everton were controversially denied an early lead, as Leon Osman’s headed goal was mysteriously disallowed. Everton were dealt another blow in the 14th minute, as Carlton Cole turned Johnny Heitinga and fired low past Tim Howard in the visitor’s goal.
Everton always looked in the game and equalised in the 64th minute. Steven Pienaar’s crossed glanced home by Nigerian international Victor Anichebe. The Irons were harshly reduced to ten men in the 67th minute.
Carlton Cole challenged with Everton full-back Leighton Baines, only to catch the England international with his studs. To the surprise of most people in the ground the striker was shown a straight red card.
Everton made the most of their numerical advantage and took the lead on 73 minutes. Leon Osman moved into the West Ham box and squared the ball to Steven Pienaar, who bundled the ball home past Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Toffee’s midfielder Darron Gibson became the second player to receive a red card in injury-time, as he produced a near identical challenge to Cole and caught Mark Noble.
Tottenham drew 0-0 at home to Stoke. The visitors have the best defensive record in the top flight and produced another disciplined display at White Hart Lane. Tottenham dropped down to fifth in the Premier League and Stoke remain ninth.
Liverpool hammered Fulham 4-0 at Anfield to move into the top half of the table. Defender Martin Skrtel volleyed Liverpool into the lead after just ten minutes. Steven Gerrard rifled home a second in the 36th minute.
Stewart Downing fired home Liverpool’s third and his first ever Liverpool goal in the second half. Reds talisman Luis Suarez completed the rout in stoppage-time to give the Reds a convincing victory.
The three points moved Liverpool up to eighth in the Premier League table. Meanwhile Fulham stay in 13th in the table.
Sunderland defeated Southampton 1-0 at the St Marys Stadium. Steven Fletcher was again the Sunderland hero, as the Scot scored from close-range after Stephane Sessegnon mishit a shot. The victory moved the Black Cats four points clear of the relegation zone. The Saints are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference.
Newcastle ended their poor run of form with a 1-0 victory over QPR at St James Park. The only goal of the game came in the 81st minute, as Shola Ameobi cut inside and fired past Robert Green in the Hoops goal.
The victory moved Newcastle five points clear of the drop zone. The visitors are five points away from safety.
West Brom returned to form with a 2-1 win over in-form Norwich at the Hawthorns. The visitors took the lead on 23 minutes with a superb free-kick from winger Robert Snodgrass.
The Baggies were on level terms in the 43rd minute, Zoltan Gera pounced from close-range after Jonas Olsson’s header was turned onto the bar by Canaries keeper Mark Bunn. The home side scored the winner in the 82nd minute, through a header from striker Romelu Lukaku.
The victory moved West Brom up to sixth place in the Premier League, only behind fourth place Everton on goal difference. Norwich dropped down to tenth place in the Premier League table.
Were Manchester City fortunate to defeat Reading?