Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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City wallop United in derby; Chelsea lose

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LONDON: Manchester City achieved one of their greatest victories when they crushed Manchester United 6-1 at Old Trafford on Sunday to pull five points clear of their neighbours at the top of the Premier League.

The stunning success—their biggest at Old Trafford since a 5-0 win in 1955—saw Mario Balotelli and late substitute Edin Dzeko score twice while Sergio Aguero and David Silva added the others.

Balotelli—who was forced to flee his home on Saturday following a bizarre late night blaze triggered by fireworks—lit the fuse on City’s title challenge after being named in the starting line-up by Roberto Mancini.

The £24 million man celebrated his strike by removing his jersey to expose a t-shirt with the slogan—”Why Always Me?—which delighted his team-mates but irked referee Mark Clattenburg who promptly booked the forward. A shellshocked United struggled to mount much of a response for the remainder of the half, and were limited to only a couple of long-range efforts from Anderson and Wayne Rooney from distance.

It got worse for City two minutes into the second half when United were reduced to 10 men after Evans hauled down Balotelli just outside the area.

The killer blow from Balotelli came on 60 minutes and again it owed everything to the ingenuity of Silva and Milner, the duo combining before Milner crossed to the far post for the Italian to make it 2-0.

More slick inter-play led to Aguero’s goal in the 60th minute before Fletcher curled in a superb finish 10 minutes from time.

City have 25 points from nine games, followed by United on 20, Chelsea and Newcastle United on 19 and Tottenham Hotspur on 16.

Three of City’s goals came in the last four minutes and they could have had even more against a United side reduced to 10 men when Jonny Evans was sent off for grappling with Balotelli after 47 minutes.

The defeat was United’s first league loss at Old Trafford since April 2010 and left City in pole position at the top of the table.

City’s title challenge was given another boost later when Chelsea were reduced to nine men in the first half after the dismissals of Jose Bosingwa and Didier Drogba and lost 1-0 at west London neighbours Queens Park Rangers.

Heidar Helguson put QPR ahead from the penalty spot after being fouled by David Luiz before the visitors’ discipline deserted them ahead of the break in a fiery London derby at Loftus Road.

Portugal defender Jose Bosingwa was the first Chelsea player to receive a straight red card, for pulling back Shaun Wright-Phillips when the winger was through on goal in the 33rd.

Didier Drogba was given the same treatment by referee Chris Foy four minutes before halftime after a two-footed lunge on Adel Taarabt.

It was third-place Chelsea’s second defeat of the season.

Arsenal beat Stoke 3-1

Robin van Persie came off the bench to score a quickfire double as rejuvenated Arsenal beat Stoke 3-1 on Sunday to grab its fourth straight home victory in the Premier League.

The Netherlands striker put the hosts in front for the second time in the match in the 73rd minute—seven minutes after coming on as a substitute—and made the game safe in the 82nd with his seventh league goal of the season.

Ivory Coast forward Gervinho gave Arsenal the lead in the 27th, only for Peter Crouch to equalize from close range seven minutes later for Stoke.

Arsenal’s latest win at the Emirates moved the team into seventh place in the table, confirming its return to form after a shaky start to the season.

And the result once again showed how important Van Persie is to Arsenal’s cause.

Having started the wins over Sunderland in the Premier League and Marseille in the Champions League over the past week, Van Persie was rested by manager Arsene Wenger.

Marouane Chamakh was chosen to lead the forward line and the Morocco striker almost made the most of his rare start by giving the hosts an early lead, heading just wide from a good position following a corner by Mikel Arteta.

Liverpool thwarted by Norwich City

A marvellous last-gasp save from John Ruddy helped Norwich earn a battling 1-1 draw at Liverpool as the Merseysiders lost ground in the race for a top four spot Saturday. Ruddy parried away a well-struck Luis Suarez volley in the fourth minute of injury time to deny Liverpool victory after the Canaries had fought back to level through Grant Holt following Craig Bellamy’s opener.

Norwich also had a lucky escape late on when Liverpool’s £35 million striker Andy Carroll headed wide as Kenny Dalglish’s side pressed for a winner. (Agencies)

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