Saturday, April 19, 2014

Manchester United keep pace with Chelsea

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Photo: footballpictures.net

Manchester City played almost 70 minutes with 10 men but still won the match.

 

Manchester United, Saturday, made sure League leaders, Chelsea, are not far off as they replicated an earlier performance by the Blues churning out a 4-2 victory over Stoke City.

The win means United remain four points off the pace after they overcame a stubborn Stoke side at Old Trafford.

Stoke had only been beaten by Chelsea prior to their trip to the Theatre of Dreams, but were undone by two goals from Wayne Rooney as well as efforts from Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck after a Rooney own goal had given the visitors the lead.

Rooney’s own goal had first given Stoke false hopes with an 11th-minute lead. The England forward quickly made amends, though, as he found the United equaliser 15 minutes later, heading home Van Persie’s cross. Van Persie then ensured United took a lead into half-time, smashing home in unerring fashion from Antonio Valencia’s assist.

United continued from where they stopped in first half netting immediately through Welbeck’s diving header, but Stoke continued to fight, reducing the deficit when Kightly advanced unchallenged to make it 3-2. Rooney quickly restored the two-goal cushion as United maintained their second position on the table.

Elsewhere, Norwich upset Arsenal at Carrow Road.

A first-half goal from Grant Holt was enough for Norwich to earn a rare lone goal victory over the Gunners. The Gunners were left out of ideas after Holt pounced on an error from Vito Mannone to give them the lead and lift them out of the drop zone.

Manchester City, who are yet to lose this season, struck deep into injury-time – with ten men – to beat

Osaze’ West Brom 2-1 at the Hawthorns.

Roberto Mancini had to make do without the injured David Silva, and City’s task was made even more difficult when James Milner was sent off midway through the first half.

However, after Shane Long had given the Baggies a second-half lead, Edin Dzeko stepped off the bench to net a match-winning brace for the champions.

In other matches, Raheem Sterling gave Liverpool some joy and ended their Merseyside drought on a day when West Ham, Fulham and Swansea all won.

Liverpool ended their wait for a first home league win under Brendan Rodgers, beating Reading1-0 at Anfield. The Reds last triumphed on home soil in league competition on May 8 against Chelsea; but Raheem Sterling’s strike finally gave their fans something to sing about.

Rodgers went into the game without fresh injury absentees Fabio Borini and Pepe Reina, but his side coped well with those setbacks as they moved up to 11th in the table. The opener saw Sterling become the club’s second youngest scorer behind Michael Owen as he ran unto Luis Suarez’s flick, taking a touch before drilling into the far corner.

Southampton stay dangerously poised above the drop zone after they lost 4-1 to West Ham at Upton Park. The result leaves Saints on four points in 17th place in the table after a Mark Noble brace in addition to goals from Kevin Nolan and Modibo Maiga.

After a dour first half, West Ham exploded from moment the second began, netting the opener when Noble’s dangerous free-kick found its way past Artur Boruc under pressure from James Collins, and then adding a second a minute later when Nolan tapped in at the far post.

Adam Lallana gave the Saints hope with 25 minutes remaining, but Noble converted from the spot to kill the game off 18 minutes from time before Maiga added the extras.

Paul Lambert is a manager firmly under pressure after Aston Villa were beaten 1-0 by Fulham at Craven Cottage. Villa are only two points clear of the bottom three after winning one of their opening eight games, with Chris Baird doing the damage for Fulham with an 84th-minute equaliser.

Swansea claimed a 2-1 win over Wigan to move into the top half of the table. Pablo Hernandez and Michu did the job for Swansea in the second half, although Emmerson Boyce’s cheeky back-heeled effort made for a tight finish.

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