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Football
Three goals and three-point lead restored
Leaders Man City get back to winning ways against Fulham while Martin O'Neill's Sunderland go from strength to strength.
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2012 20:19
City move ahead of Man Utd after a dominant display over Fulham in snowy conditions [GALLO/GETTY] 

Manchester City put the title pressure back on Manchester United as a comfortable 3-0 victory over Fulham at Eastlands restored their three-point lead at the top of the Premier League on Saturday.

In the early kick-off, Arsenal subjected Blackburn Rovers to a 7-1 defeat with a hat-trick from Robin van Persie.

Roberto Mancini's side took an early lead through Sergio Aguero's penalty and Chris Baird's own goal increased their advantage before Edin Dzeko sealed the points in blizzard conditions in the second half.

Defending champions United now need to win their tricky trip to Chelsea on Sunday to move back level on points with City at the top.

James McClean enhanced his burgeoning reputation by scoring a classy second-half winner in Sunderland's 1-0 victory over 10-man Stoke, maintaining the team's strong run under new manager Martin O'Neill.

Results and fixtures

Saturday February 4

 Arsenal 7-1 Blackburn
 Norwich 2-0 Bolton
 QPR 1-2 Wolves
 Stoke 0-1 Sunderland 
 West Brom 1-2 Swansea 
 Wigan 1-1 Everton
 Man City 3-0 Fulham

Sunday February 5

 Newcastle v Aston Villa Chelsea v Man Utd

The Irish winger dribbled his way past two challenges and into Stoke's area in the 60th minute before slotting a neat finish into the corner.

The win at Stoke was Sunderland's seventh in 10 league matches since O'Neill took over at the start of December and consolidated the team's position in eighth place in the standings.

The visitors had a man extra for the whole of the second half after German defender Robert Huth was given a straight red card just before halftime for a sliding challenge on David Meyler.

Substitute Kevin Doyle helped Wolves rally for a 2-1 victory at 10-man Queens Park Rangers, whose two new key signings gave contrasting performances in their first home game.

Doyle came off the bench at halftime and set up Matt Jarvis for an equaliser 51 seconds later, before firing home the winner.

Debutante Bobby Zamora had given QPR a deserved halftime lead just days after his transfer from Fulham, but fellow January signing Djibril Cisse's straight red card for an altercation with Roger Johnson in the 34th allowed Wolves a way back into the game.

It was Wolves' first win in 10 league games and helps relieve some of the pressure on under-fire manager Mick McCarthy.

Canaries swoop late

Norwich put an end to Bolton's resurgent form by beating the relegation-threatened visitors 2-0 thanks to two late goals.

Andrew Surman put Norwich ahead in the 70th by pouncing on a loose ball to smash home a finish before Anthony Pilkington sealed the victory five minutes from time with a close-range strike.

Bolton had beaten Liverpool and drawn with Arsenal in their last two matches but the loss at Carrow Road dropped the team back into the bottom three after 23 matches.

Norwich stayed ninth, a point behind Sunderland, in their first season back in the top flight after promotion.

Swansea notched their second win away when they came from behind to beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1.

The result extended West Brom's poor run at home, having collected eight points in The Hawthorns but 18 away from home.

       The big spenders of transfer window QPR were beaten by Wolves after Doyle's winner [GETTY]

Marc-Antoine Fortune put West Brom ahead against the run of play in the 53rd minute when Graham Dorrans' corner was sent on by Jonas Olsson and Fortune at the far post smashed it in.

Midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, on loan to Swansea from Hoffenheim, then came to the fore, converting Neil Taylor's cross for the equaliser two minutes later.

Sigurdsson then set up Danny Graham in the 59th for the winner and his 10th goal of the season.

Substitute Victor Anichebe scored late in the second half to earn a 1-1 draw for visiting Everton against Wigan.

The home side took the lead in the 75th minute through an own goal by Phil Neville after a mixup with goalkeeper Tim Howard.

But Everton, who came into the game on a high after their midweek victory over league leaders Manchester City, hit back in the 82nd through Anichebe's powerful header.

Wigan remain in the relegation zone after a poor run of four points from their last nine matches left them last in the table with 16 points, five adrift of safety.

Little separated the sides in a dour opening half at the DW Stadium as the teams battled the cold and a poor pitch before the game came to life after the break.

Source:
Agencies
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