Arsenal’s Lead Cut as Man. City Hits Six

Football club's lead on Premier League table drops after losing to Manchester City and Chelsea's beating Crystal Palace.

Arsenal’s lead at the top of the Premier League table was cut to two points after they lost 6-3 at Manchester City and Chelsea beat Crystal Palace 2-1 yesterday.

“It’s not easy to score six goals against Arsenal; the best defence in the Premier League, the best team this year,” said City manager Manuel Pellegrini. “We are three points behind. We must continue working and improving because we have a lot more things to improve.”

Sergio Aguero volleyed City into an early lead, but Theo Walcott levelled before Alvaro Negredo restored City’s advantage before half-time. Fernandinho whipped in a third and, although Walcott got his second of the game, David Silva quickly restored the two-goal lead. With three minutes remaining, Fernandinho dinked his second of the game, Per Mertesacker headed Arsenal’s third in injury-time and Yaya Toure wrapped things up from the penalty spot.

“Overall, they deserved the win,” said Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. “We have to go home and recover and come back for the next time. We made too many technical mistakes today.”

Arsenal remained on 35 points, with Chelsea on 33, City on 32 and Everton on 31 after crushing Fulham 4-1. Liverpool can improve to 33 with victory at Tottenham today.

At Stamford Bridge, Crystal Palace battled hard but lost 2-1. Fernando Torres put Chelsea ahead after 16 minutes, finishing off after Willian’s shot had come back off the post, but Marouane Chamakh levelled with his third goal in successive games just before the half hour. Ramires restored Chelsea’s lead after 35 minutes with a ferocious strike.

“I was expecting an easy victory and big problems. I was ready for both situations,” Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said.

“I knew that when they have the ball and they need to come up and they need to build it’s difficult for them.”

Everton moved into the top four with the big win over Fulham. The Bryan Oviedo-Steven Pienaar combination created the opener for Leon Osman after 19 minutes, but Dimitar Berbatov levelled from the penalty spot midway through the second half. But with 17 minutes remaining, a Pienaar dummy created space for Seamus Coleman to put Everton ahead. Gareth Barry headed a third and Kevin Mirallas added the fourth in injury-time.

“It was a really difficult game and the big moment was the penalty,” Everton manager Roberto Martinez said. “After they scored we were more open minded and it is great to score in games like this. Fulham were good and pressed with plenty of energy but we found a way to win and we have three very important points.”

Southampton’s run without a win stretched to five games after a 1-1 draw with Newcastle United. Yoan Gouffran capitalized on Jos Hooiveld’s error to put Newcastle ahead after 27 minutes, but Southampton levelled through Jay Rodriguez after a superb counter-attack 20 minutes into the second half.

Cardiff City eased away from the relegation zone with a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion, Peter Whittingham heading the goal in 65 minutes.

Sunderland had much the better of the game at West Ham United but remain five points from safety after a 0-0 draw. Hull City drew 0-0 with Stoke City in the tea-time kick-off.