|Yaya Toure takes the plaudits after setting City on their way to an important win in East London [EPA]|
Manchester City moved up to second place in the English Premier League with a 3-1 win at relegation-threatened West Ham to put them level on points with leaders Arsenal.
Strikes from Yaya Toure, Adam Johnson and a Robert Green own goal secured three precious points for Roberto Mancini’s men, who now trail Arsenal by goal difference ahead of the Gunners’ visit to Manchester United on Monday.
Toure opened the scoring after 30 minutes, the Cote d’Ivoire midfielder combining with England international Gareth Barry to rifle an unstoppable shot past Hammers keeper Green.
Toure was responsible for City’s second goal on 73 minutes, surging into the West Ham penalty box and firing a low shot which cannoned off the post and into the net off the desperately unlucky Green’s back.
Johnson – who had came on for Mario Balotelli after the volatile Italian striker earned a booking for dissent – completed the scoring with a well-taken effort on 81 minutes.
Defender James Tomkins scored a late consolation for West Ham, heading in from a corner on 89 minutes.
|Results & fixtures|
Saturday December 11
Aston Villa 2-1 West Brom
Sunday December 12
Bolton v Blackburn
Monday December 13
Man Utd v Arsenal
The defeat left the Hammers bottom on goal difference, four points adrift of safety.
Reigning champions Chelsea will reclaim top spot if they beat Tottenham Hotspur in their visit to White Hart Lane on Sunday.
Elsewhere on Saturday, goals were thin on the ground with Everton being held to a nil-nil draw against Wigan Athletic at Goodison Park as Fulham and Sunderland finished 0-0 at Craven Cottage.
Goals from Stewart Downing and Emile Heskey eased the pressure on Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier as the Birmingham club snatched a nervy 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion at Villa Park.
Downing set Villa on the way to ending their four-match losing streak in all competitions when he got on the end of a Marc Albrighton cross to open the scoring on 25 minutes.
Veteran striker Heskey, playing his first match since October after having surgery on an injured knee ligament, made sure of the points for Villa on 80 minutes.
A bullet header from Austrian international midfielder Paul Scharner on 89 minutes ensured a nerve-jangling finale.
Promoted Blackpool meanwhile maintained their proud away record with a 1-0 victory over Stoke at the Britannia Stadium which fired the Seasiders into the top half of the table.
Blackpool took the lead through DJ Campbell in the 48th minute after a sweeping counter-attack orchestrated by playmaker Charlie Adam.
The win saw Blackpool move up to ninth with 22 points.
In Saturday’s late game, newly-appointed Newcastle manager Alan Pardew got his reign off to a winning start when the Magpies beat Liverpool 3-1 at St James’ Park.
Kevin Nolan opened the scoring before Dirk Kuyt equalised for the visitors, who then succumbed to late goals from Joey Barton and Andy Carroll.