Manch­ester City main­tains scor­ing pace, lead in stand­ings

Ottawa Citizen - - SPORTS - MAR­TYN HER­MAN

LON­DON • Free-scor­ing Manch­ester City main­tained their grip at the top of Eng­land’s Premier League of soc­cer with a 3-1 home vic­tory against New­cas­tle United on Satur­day, tak­ing their goal tally to 42 from 12 games.

Mario Balotelli and Ser­gio Aguero scored penal­ties and Micah Richards was also on tar­get to con­demn third­placed New­cas­tle to its first de­feat of the sea­son and leave City as the only un­beaten side in the league.

City has 34 points from a pos­si­ble 36 this sea­son and has piled up a stag­ger­ing goal dif­fer­ence of 31 on the way to build­ing a five-point lead over sec­ond-placed Manch­ester United.

United did enough to earn a 1-0 vic­tory at Swansea City, its third con­sec­u­tive one-goal tri­umph since re­ceiv­ing a 6-1 drub­bing by City at Old Traf­ford.

Javier Her­nan­dez scored the only goal in the 11th minute in South Wales from a cross by Welsh­man Ryan Giggs to give the Premier League new­comer its first home loss.

Arse­nal main­tained its im­prove­ment with a fifth con­sec­u­tive league vic­tory thanks to Robin van Per­sie’s two goals in a 2-1 win at Nor­wich City. That moved the Lon­don club above Liver­pool and into sixth place with 22 points.

Liver­pool (19 points) faces fourth­placed Chelsea (22) to­day, with Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur (22), in fifth, at home to eighth-place As­ton Villa on Mon­day.

Bot­tom club Wi­gan Ath­letic ended a run of eight suc­ces­sive league de­feats in a 3-3 home draw with the Black­burn Rovers, who equal­ized with an in­jury-time penalty.

Wi­gan man­ager Roberto Martinez la­belled Black­burn’s sec­ond goal “scan­dalous” af­ter Rovers for­ward Yakubu ap­peared to use his hand to restart play from a cor­ner.

The Bolton Wan­der­ers re­mained in the rel­e­ga­tion zone af­ter a 2-1 de­feat at West Bromwich Al­bion, but Ever­ton eased away from the bot­tom three with a 2-1 home tri­umph against the Wolver­hamp­ton Wan­der­ers.

Pro­moted Queens Park Rangers won 3-2 at Stoke City, while Sun­der­land drew 0-0 at home to Ful­ham.

City’s goal tally af­ter 12 games is the best in the top flight since Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur net­ted 44 in its first dozen games in 1963.

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