United miss chance to reclaim top spot


Premier League review:  Norwich continued their revival with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Manchester United at Carrow Road, as Alex Ferguson’s men blew the chance to go back top of the Premier League table. After Manchester City had thrashed Aston Villa 5-0 earlier this afternoon, only a win would have been enough for United to overtake their neighbours.

However, with England striker Wayne Rooney missing because of tonsillitis, the Red Devils produced a lacklustre display as the Canaries — reborn since the international break — produced another composed display to secure a third win in five Premier League games with a fine header from Anthony Pilkington on the hour.

An Aston Villadefence that included Ireland's Ciaran Clark and former Shamrock Rovers defender Enda Stevens was mauled by Cityat the Etihad Stadium, as the champions moved top with a 5-0 win ahead of Manchester United’s late kick-off against Norwich City.

David Silva scored the opener from close range just before half-time before Sergio Aguero scored from the penalty spot after Clark handled the ball in the area.

Carlos Tevez added City’s third from the spot when Barry Bannan was also adjudged to have handled the ball before Aguero fired his second and Tevez did the same in a resounding wi.

Luis Suarez scored a brace as Liverpoolbeat Wigan3-0 at Anfield.

The Uruguay international beat Ali Al Habsi twice in the second half with strikes from the middle of the area as Liverpool moved closer to the top half of the table, with Jose Enrique’s tap-in sealing the win for Reds boss Brendan Rodgers.

“Luis is a very big part of the team. His first goal was a wonderful finish with a great weight of pass from young Raheem (Sterling),” said Rodgers afterwards. “He finished it great and for the second one there was a lovely pass from Enrique and a nice little off-the-shoulder run and finish.

“He is a master marksman, absolutely outstanding, and we are thrilled to have him.”

Goals for Rickie Lambert and Jason Puncheon helped to seal a vital 3-1 win for struggling Southamptonagainst QPRat Loftus Road .

Lambert headed in from close range before Puncheon added the second from 20 yards, with Junior Hoilett’s second-half header not enough for Mark Hughes’ side, as Anton Ferdinand’s own goal in the 83rd minute compounded QPR’s woes.

Asked if it was the worst QPR performance of his time in charge, Hughes said: “Yes, without a shadow of a doubt. Today there was not that intensity. We weren’t on the front foot, we weren’t anticipating anything, we weren’t aggressive enough. All the fundamentals that you need to build a performance \[were not there].

“Maybe the anxiety of the significance of the game filtered through to them but, come on, the vast majority of them are very experienced. It shouldn’t affect them in that manner and it surprised me that possibly it did. I can well understand the reaction \[from the fans]. In fairness, it was exactly my reaction to that performance.

“We are not going to hide or try to make it positive out of a very big negative because it was a huge game for everybody connect with Queens Park Rangers, including myself, players, staff and fans. We have not performed, unfortunately, so when that happens it puts us in a situation that no-one anticipated this year but we are where we are.”

Readingcame from behind to earn their first Premier League win this season with a 2-1 win over Evertonat the Madejski Stadium.

Poor defending by Reading allowed Steven Naismith to open the scoring for the Toffees before Adam Le Fondre marked his return to the Royals side by equalising with a glancing header.

Everton’s and Ireland full-back Séamus Coleman then conceded a penalty which Le Fondre duly converted to earn a much-needed three points for coach Brian McDermott.

At the Hawthorns, West Brombeat Chelsea2-1 to move into fourth place, thanks to goals from Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long and Nigerian Peter Odemwingie.

Long opened the scoring in the 10th minute before Eden Hazard equalised for Chelsea on the stroke of half-time, however, Odemwingie headed past Petr Cech from Long’s assist to earn the Baggies another win.

Elsewhere, Swanseabeat Newcastle2-1 St James’ Park thanks in part to a blunder by Magpies keeper Tim Krul.

Krul miscued a clearance straight to Pablo Hernandez, who picked out Michu with a great cross, allowing the Spaniard to head the ball past Krul and into the net.

Jonathan de Guzman sealed the win late in the game when he followed up substitute Danny Graham’s blocked strike with Demba Ba’s stoppage time score not enough for Newcastle.

Arsenalromped to a 5-2 victory in the early north London derby against 10-man Tottenhamafter Emmanuel Adebayor’s dismissal sparked a spectacular Spurs collapse.

Adebayor opened the scoring against his former club in the 10th minute before he was sent off soon after for a reckless challenge on Santi Cazorla, with goals from Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud, Cazorla and Theo Walcott earning Arsenal the win in a pulsating clash at the Emirates Stadium.

Gareth Bale pulled one back for the visitors late on but it was not enough as Walcott’s stoppage-time strike ensured the Gunners replicated the scoreline from the fixture last season.

Tottenham’s William Gallas saw his goal ruled out for offside in the ninth minute but Spurs did not have to wait long to open their account as Adebayor earned them a lead 60 seconds later from close range.

However, the striker quickly turned from hero to villain when his late, high tackle on Cazorla in the 18th minute earned him a straight red card, leading to Tottenham’s capitulation.

Mertesacker soon levelled for Arsenal before Podolski’s bobbled shot and strikes for Giroud scored and Cazorla put the Gunners out of reach.

Winger Bale pulled one back for Tottenham in the 71st minute, but Walcott had the final word with a stoppage-time goal to match last season’s scoreline in the fixture.

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas accepted Adebayor’s dismissal was justified but was reluctant to be too hard on the striker.

“Players want to dispute the ball, there was no intention to do any harm,” the Portuguese told Sky Sports 2. “I think the sending-off determined the game, but the referee made the right decision.”

He added: “I’m very, very proud of the team. We had chances for 4-3 and if it had gone to only a one-goal difference, I think we could have gone all the way. We had the ambition and desire and I am extremely proud of the team.”

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