United hold off Reading in thriller Fellaini on target as Everton hinder City again

LONDON, Dec 1, (Agencies): Manchester United opened up a three-point lead at the top of the Premier League on Saturday with a remarkable 4-3 victory at struggling Reading where all the goals came before halftime. Reading led 1-0 through Hal Robson-Kanu and went 3-2 ahead with Sean Morrison’s header but goals from Anderson, a Wayne Rooney double and Robin van Persie saw United go in front with only 34 minutes on the clock at the Madejski Stadium. The torrent of goals dried up after the break as United held on for the win that lifted them above champions Manchester City who had briefly gone top with a 1-1 draw at home to Everton. In what looks like a two-horse title race United have 36 points from 15 games with City on 33. The chasing pack of Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion each have 26.


Everton 1, Manchester City 1
Marouane Fellaini played a decisive role at both ends of the pitch as Everton held Manchester City to a 1-1 draw at the Etihad Stadium.
Fellaini, Everton’s outstanding player of the season, put Everton ahead with his eighth goal of the campaign on a ground at which his side had won on four of their previous five visits.
However, it was also Fellaini’s tug on Edin Dzeko’s shirt at a corner that led referee Lee Probert to award the penalty from which Carlos Tevez equalised.
The point took City top of the table ahead of Manchester United’s late game at Reading.
City manager Roberto Mancini sprung a surprise by picking Joleon Lescott, the former Everton defender, who has been kept out of the side recently by teenage summer recruit Matija Nastasic.
His Everton counterpart, David Moyes, admitted on Friday that he would not be averse to taking England centre-back Lescott back on loan when the transfer window opens next month.
Lescott, who was instrumental in City’s title campaign — playing in 31 of the 38 games — had not figured since playing in the 3-1 Champions League defeat against Ajax in Amsterdam on October 24.
City suffered an early setback when Aleksandar Kolarov, preferred to mid-week choice Pablo Zabaleta at left-back, limped off after six minutes to be replaced by Zabaleta.


Tim Howard and Dzeko both needed treatment after Maicon drifted in a teasing cross that called on the Everton goalkeeper to save at full stretch.
But Howard’s next call of duty did not go so well as the United States goalkeeper chose to punch clear a swirling free-kick from David Silva.
The ball was half-cleared and when Silva swung in a cross from the right, Sylvan Distin did just enough to disrupt Tevez, whose header sailed wide.
Maicon had his hands full with the partnership of Everton duo Steven Pienaar and Leighton Baines down his flank, the pair working well without reward. However, the Brazilian defender still found time to launch a swift City attack in tandem with Tevez that saw Samir Nasri’s shot blocked by Phil Jagielka.
Fellaini had made a quiet start to the game, but that changed suddenly after 33 minutes when Everton took the lead following a superb cross from Baines.


West Ham 3, Chelsea 1
Rafael Benitez lamented Chelsea’s profligacy in front of goal after his side’s run of league games without a win was extended to seven following a 3-1 loss at West Ham United.
In a true game of two halves, Chelsea led through Juan Mata’s 13th-minute opener and looked comfortable until West Ham stormed back in the second half with goals from Carlton Cole, Mohamed Diame and Modibo Maiga.
Chelsea have not endured such a barren run in the Premier League since 1995, and Benitez has picked up just two points from a possible nine since replacing the sacked Roberto Di Matteo.
“To win, it’s simple,” Benitez said. “In the first half we just had to score more goals. We have to improve.
“We know that football has two halves, the game has two halves. In the first half we had two or three chances — we just need to score more goals.”
West Ham were transformed after manager Sam Allardyce introduced Diame and Matt Taylor at half-time and ultimately deserved victory for a vastly improved performance in the second period. “We started okay but when they scored we just lost our confidence. I think we lost our momentum,” said the West Ham coach.
“I just needed to make some changes, bring in some fresh legs. It was all about playing in the opposition’s half, playing off Carlton Cole. I felt he was itching for a real good game.” Benitez made four changes to the side that started the 0-0 draw against Fulham, underlining the manager’s pre-match assertion that the demands of the season are already beginning to tell on Chelsea’s senior players.


Swansea 2, Arsenal 0
Swansea piled on the misery for Arsenal as Michu scored twice in the closing minutes to clinch a shock 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Spanish forward Michu, a £2 million signing from Rayo Vallecano this past July, underlined his growing reputation as the bargain buy of the season with a pair of clinical finishes on the counter attack, prompting Arsenal’s fans to unleash a torrent of abuse at manager Arsene Wenger and his players at full-time.
Arsenal have now won just one of their last six Premier League matches and this defeat dropped the Gunners to 10th place in the table.
The north London club are now five points off the top four and to add insult to injury in-form Swansea climbed above them into seventh spot.
There was an early scare for Arsenal when they struggled to deal with Jonathan de Guzman’s free-kick into the box and the ball fell to Swansea captain Ashley Williams in front of goal but a defender was in the way of the shot that followed.
Arsenal replied with a wayward effort from Carl Jenkinson but were soon back under pressure and needed goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to make a double save to deny Angel Rangel.
The full-back arrived at the back post to cap a superb passing movement that had seen almost every outfield player involved and Arsenal chasing shadows.


Tottenham 3, Fulham 0
In London, Jermain Defoe bagged a brace as Tottenham cruised to a 3-0 win against Fulham that lifted the north London club into fourth place in the Premier League.
Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas this week claimed Defoe is as good as Colombia star Radamel Falcao, the Atletico Madrid striker regarded as one of the world’s best forwards, and the England international repaid that compliment with a clinical display at Craven Cottage.
Defoe, 30, took his goal tally for the season to 12 with a pair of cool finishes in the second half after Brazilian midfielder Sandro broke the deadlock soon after the break.
Tottenham’s third successive win means Villas-Boas’ team are level with third-placed Chelsea, but injuries to Gareth Bale and Michael Dawson may have taken some of the gloss off the win for the former Chelsea coach.
Steve Sidwell threatened for Fulham in the early stages, but French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris charged off his lane to collect before the midfielder had a chance to shoot.
Ashkan Dejagah set up Kerim Frei as the hosts pressed again, but the opportunity was squandered by a poor finish.


Stoke 1, West Brom 0
A late goal from substitute Dean Whitehead gave Stoke City their first away win of the season at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday to deny the hosts third place in the Premier League.
Whitehead picked up a cross from fellow substitute Michael Kightly, as Stoke became just the second team to win at The Hawthorns this season after champions Manchester City.
Tony Pulis’ side have taken 13 points from the last five games, while for the fifth-placed West Brom it was a second setback in a few days after Wednesday night’s 3-1 loss at Swansea.
A draw would have been enough for West Brom to go third after Rafael Benitez’s Chelsea were beaten 3-1 by West Ham United earlier.
Hammers manager Steve Clarke made six changes to his side after their midweek loss, giving a debut to Sweden striker Markus Rosenberg, but the strategy backfired as the side failed to gel.
Kenwyne Jones, in as Peter Crouch recovers from dental surgery, made his first Premier League start of the season and came close early but his header went just wide.


Liverpool 1, Southampton 0
In Liverpool, United Kingdom, Daniel Agger’s first goal of the season earned stuttering Liverpool a 1-0 win at home to promoted Southampton, giving the Reds just their second Premier League victory in seven matches.
Agger struck three minutes before half-time to clinch only a fourth win of the campaign for Brendan Rodgers’ men, as the Reds bounced back from Wednesday’s 2-1 reverse at Tottenham.
Liverpool, whose eight-match unbeaten run in the league was snapped following that midweek defeat, climbed one spot to 11th in the table, while Southampton remained mired in the relegation zone after their first loss in five outings. Lucas Leiva’s return to the Liverpool midfield was a welcome sight following the Brazilian’s three-month lay-off with a thigh injury, and the home side went close to taking the lead inside 10 minutes as Glen Johnson’s close-range effort travelled just wide.
Saints defender Luke Shaw made a crucial interview to deny Steven Gerrard, while Luis Suarez stung the palms of Southampton goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga.
Liverpool continued to mount the pressure on the visitors as Jonjo Shelvey saw his blistering drive rattle the woodwork before the home side finally took a deserved lead on 42 minutes.

Aston 1, QPR 1
In London, Harry Redknapp’s home debut as Queens Park Rangers manager ended in frustration after heroics from visiting goalkeeper Brad Guzan saw Aston Villa claim a 1-1 draw at Loftus Road.
Villa went ahead through Australian midfielder Brett Holman and although Jamie Mackie levelled for QPR, who had Stephane Mbia stretchered off, Guzan kept the home side’s attackers at bay in the second period. QPR are still seeking a first win of the campaign and remain bottom of the Premier League table, seven points from safety, while Villa move up one place to 16th.
It took Villa just eight minutes to put a dampener on Redknapp’s Loftus Road bow, as Holman found the net with a left-foot shot from 20 yards that beat a rather flimsy attempt at a save from QPR goalkeeper Rob Green.


Mbia headed wide from an Adel Taarabt corner before the hosts drew level in the 18th minute, Mackie flicking an excellent header inside the left-hand post from Samba Diakite’s deep right-wing cross.
Christian Benteke thought he had restored Villa’s lead two minutes later but the burly Belgian’s header from Matt Lowton’s centre was ruled out for offside.
Shaun Wright-Phillips then came close to putting the hosts ahead twice in the space of four minutes.
In the 29th minute he could only shoot straight at Guzan after being sent clean through by Esteban Granero, and he then struck the base of the right-hand post with a lusty half-volley from an angle on the right.
It was at that juncture that Mbia sustained a troubling injury that saw seven minutes of injury time added at the end of the first half.


The Cameroon international collapsed to the turf following a collision with Gabriel Agbonlahor and after receiving lengthy treatment from medical staff, he was stretchered off and taken to hospital for precautionary scans.
QPR redoubled their efforts after the interval, with Guzan thwarting Wright-Phillips, producing a one-handed save to push away a hooked effort from Ryan Nelsen, and then denying substitute Park Ji-sung.
The American saved his best for the 80th minute, springing high to his left to acrobatically claw a header from Taarabt onto the crossbar, to the disbelief of the watching Redknapp.

Read By: 2649
Comments: 0
Rated:

Comments
You must login to add comments ...
About Us   |   RSS   |   Contact Us   |   Feedback   |   Advertise With Us