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United stays top

Monday, December 17, 2012

LONDON - Manchester United maintained their six-point lead over champions Manchester City at the top of the Premier League as both sides recorded 3-1 victories on Saturday.

City cut the gap to three points with victory at Newcastle in the lunchtime kick-off but United restored their advantage by seeing off Sunderland by the same scoreline at Old Trafford.

Queens Park Rangers moved off the bottom of the table with their first league win of the season, a 2-1 win over Fulham relegating Reading to bottom of the table.

Robin van Persie, Tom Cleverley and Wayne Rooney scored the goals as United eased their way to a win over Sunderland at Old Trafford.

Fraizer Campbell pulled one back with 20 minutes to go but United were good value for their victory to maintain their six-point lead at the top.

"For an hour we were fantastic," United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said. "Some of our football was very good and we could have scored lots of goals.

"But I don't know what happened after that because Sunderland could have had two or three towards the end. We will try and keep the momentum and consistency going over the new year."

City needed to pick themselves up from their last-minute defeat at home by United last weekend and did just that with a superb performance, even if Newcastle made it hard for them in the second half.

Goals from Sergio Aguero and Javi Garcia put them 2-0 up at half-time and though Demba Ba halved the deficit, Yaya Toure squeezed home a third 12 minutes from the end to seal the points.

For periods in the first half, City were rampant as David Silva, Carlos Tevez and Aguero pulled the Newcastle defence apart.

Both goalkeepers made early saves before a brilliant ball from Yaya Toure found Samir Nasri, who squared the ball to Aguero for a tap-in for the opening goal.

City goalkeeper Joe Hart had to make a series of interventions at the other end but City squandered a host of chances before Garcia's header made it over the line from a Silva corner.

Newcastle came out fast after half-time and deservedly pulled a goal back when Ba broke the off-side trap and headed the ball past Hart.

The home side looked like they might even find an equalizer but as they pushed forward they left holes at the back and Toure squeezed in a third through the legs of Tim Krul to seal victory.

Newcastle, who have now lost six of their past seven games, remained 14th, just two points above the relegation zone.

Two goals from Adel Taarabt gave Harry Redknapp his first win as QPR manager - and the club's first of the season - with a 2-1 victory over Fulham. A late goal from Mladen Petric gave the home side some nervous moments at the end but QPR held on to leapfrog Reading into second-bottom.

The shock of the day came at Anfield where Aston Villa won 3-1 at Liverpool through two goals by Christian Benteke and one by Andreas Weimann.

Everton moved up to fourth with a 1-1 draw at Stoke City while Norwich City moved into the top half with a 2-1 victory over Wigan Athletic.

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