Manchester City maintains scoring pace, lead in standings
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.