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Manchester City rise to EPL summit

Edin Dzeko lifts City to top in 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, as Man United stay in the title race by beating Norwich.

Last updated: 28 Dec 2013 20:04
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Danny Welbeck scores Manchester United's goal during their win at Carrow Road [EPA]

Manchester City have rode their luck in beating Crystal Palace 1-0 to move provisionally top of the Premier League.

Meanwhile, fierce city rivals Manchester United won by the same score at Norwich City to stay in the title picture on Saturday.

The Manchester giants dipped into their reserves for a second game in three days and produced disjointed displays that were rescued by second-half winners.

Edin Dzeko's 66th-minute goal maintained City's record of scoring in every home game in more than three years - a run of 60 matches - and lifted the team two points above Arsenal, which plays Newcastle on Sunday.

The league's most free-scoring attack struggled to break down the Palace defence until Jesus Navas cut the ball back for Dzeko to score from 12 yards for his 50th goal for City.

Meanwhile, City's Manchester rivals United moved within two points of the top four in the Premier League with their 1-0 win at Carrow Road.

Substitute Danny Welbeck scored in the second half to earn the defending champions a fourth straight league win.

"I was delighted to come on at half-time and get the winning goal," Wellbeck told Al Jazeera Sport.

United needed a bit of luck to break down a disciplined Norwich defence in the 57th minute, as a failed clearance ricocheted off Welbeck and Javier Hernandez before setting the former free on goal.

Hull thrash Fulham

Welbeck made no mistake, racing on to the ball and rounding goalkeeper John Ruddy before slotting into the net.

United were without both Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney but still earned its fourth straight league victory to provisionally move to sixth place.

Rooney did not travel to Norfolk because of a groin problem while van Persie was not match fit.

Hull thrashed struggling Fulham 6-0 in a game highlighted by Tom Huddlestone celebrating his first goal since 2011 by cutting a piece of his hair off on the sideline.

Hull captain Robert Koren scored twice, while Ahmed El Mohamady, George Boyd and Matt Fryatt also netted as Fulham collapsed completely after the break.

Huddlestone made it 4-0 in the 67th minute - Hull's third goal in seven minutes - to end a goal drought stretching back two and a half years.

The midfielder had pledged not to cut his hair until he scored again, and after netting he ran over to the sideline to let club physio Rob Price sheer off one of his long locks.

Fulham took a huge step backward after a mini-revival under new manager Rene Meulensteen and remains mired in the relegation zone.

West Ham will head into 2014 stuck in the Premier League's relegation zone after twice surrendering the lead to draw 3-3 in a thrilling match at Upton Park.

Former France striker Nicolas Anelka scored his first goals for West Brom to put his team 2-1 ahead at halftime after Joe Cole had given West Ham a fourth-minute lead.

Substitute Modibo Maiga curled a shot underneath goalkeeper Ben Foster for West Ham's equalizer in the 65th before heading across goal for Kevin Nolan to net a flying volley two minutes later.

That looked like giving the hosts a victory in what under-pressure manager Sam Allardyce had labelled a "must-win" game, but Saido Berahino's low finish in the 69th earned a point for West Brom, which is unbeaten in three matches under caretaker manager Keith Downing.

In the late game, Sunderland came from 2-0 down to draw at Cardiff City. It was  the Welsh club's first game since it sacked manager Malky Mackay following a power struggle with owner Vincent Tan. 

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Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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