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Liverpool sink sorry United Rosicky boosts Arsenal title bid

MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, March 16, (AFP): Steven Gerrard scored two penalties as Liverpool closed to within four points of Premier League leaders Chelsea with a 3-0 win at beleaguered rivals Manchester United on Sunday.
Gerrard found the net from 12 yards either side of half-time before Luis Suarez added a third goal in the 84th minute to give Liverpool their first victory at Old Trafford in five years.
Gerrard should have had a hat-trick of spot-kicks, with a third penalty hitting the post after United captain Nemanja Vidic had been shown a second yellow card for felling Daniel Sturridge, but it was to prove anecdotal.


Gerrard said that the result proved that Liverpool were “genuine contenders” for the title, but although they have a game in hand on Chelsea, manager Brendan Rodgers sounded a note of caution.
“Our dominance in the match was clear,” he said. “We could arguably have scored five or six and that is testament to the quality of the players.
“But we won’t get carried away. It is a wonderful result and our confidence is high at the moment, but our only focus is on the next game.”
While Rodgers’s side look more like potential champions with each display, United’s season continues to unravel.
This was the defending champions’ fifth home defeat of the campaign and having started the day 11 points below the Champions League places, their hopes of a top-four finish have been all but extinguished. As a result, Wednesday’s Champions League home game with Olympiakos now takes on crucial significance, but with United 2-0 down from the first leg of the last 16 tie, there could be more misery around the corner.
“It was important we came out in the second half and got a goal back, but instead we gave one away and that made it very difficult for us,” said United manager David Moyes.
“It looks like we are a long way off (the top four). We are well aware of that, but we are going to keep fighting.”
Moyes had admitted prior to the game that Liverpool’s form “probably” made them favourites, but he will have been alarmed by the ease with which the visitors found holes in the hosts’ defence.
Arsenal 1, Spurs 0
Tomas Rosicky fired Arsenal back into the Premier League title race as the Czech midfielder’s quick-fire strike clinched a crucial 1-0 win over north London rivals Tottenham on Sunday.
Arsene Wenger’s side began the weekend seven points behind Chelsea, but they moved to within four points of the leaders — with a game in hand — thanks to Rosicky’s winner after just 72 seconds.
The Czech midfielder’s goal, and the gritty defensive display that followed it, secured Arsenal’s first league win at White Hart Lane since 2007 in Wenger’s 999th match in charge.
The third placed Gunners feared their title challenge was fading after a defeat at Stoke, but they are firmly back in the race and a titanic encounter against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side looms at Stamford Bridge next weekend.
“It’s a huge result because we were under pressure to win before the game,” Wenger said.
“Tottenham played well and sometimes we were under pressure, so we needed some special resilience to get away with it. It’s three massive points.”
Tottenham’s third successive defeat was harsh on Tim Sherwood’s fifth placed team, who look to have blown their chances of qualifying for the Champions League via a top-four finish.
“First and foremost, I wanted the performance. We got that but we didn’t get the result,” Sherwood said.
“The fans won’t be happy with that but anyone who has seen that performance will know we didn’t deserve to lose.”
Arsenal had already defeated their hated neighbours twice this season and they were quickly back in the ascendancy thanks to a virtuoso contribution from the man nicknamed ‘the little Mozart’.
Rosicky was only playing because of an injury to the club’s record signing Mesut Ozil, but he took less than two minutes to make a more decisive contribution than the German has managed for months.
Rosicky seized possession near the halfway line after a Tottenham attack broke down and surged forward with real intent.
Tottenham were caught short-handed at the back and the Czech picked out Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the edge of the penalty area.
Oxlade-Chamberlain couldn’t control the ball, but it rolled fortuitously back to Rosicky and, although the angle didn’t suggest the shot was on, he unleashed a ferocious half-volley that flashed into the top corner past the stunned Hugo Lloris.
It was just Rosicky’s third club goal of the season, but Spurs will be sick of the sight of the 33-year-old, who also scored against them in the FA Cup third round.

Standings
    P    W    D    L    GF    GA    Pts
Chelsea    30    20    6    4    56    23    66
Liverpool    29    19    5    5    76    35    62
Arsenal    29    19    5    5    53    28    62
Man City    27    19    3    5    71    27    60
Tottenham    30    16    5    9    37    38    53
Everton    28    14    9    5    40    28    51
Man Utd    29    14    6    9    46    34    48
Southampton    30    12    9    9    43    37    45
Newcastle    29    13    4    12    37    40    43
Aston Villa    29    9    7    13    32    38    34
Stoke    30    8    10    12    32    44    34
West Ham    29    8    7    14    32    38    31
Hull    29    8    6    15    30    37    30
Swansea    29    7    8    14    38    43    29
Norwich    30    7    8    15    24    48    29
West Brom    29    5    13    11    33    43    28
Crystal Palace    29    8    4    17    19    38    28
Sunderland    27    6    7    14    26    42    25
Cardiff    30    6    7    17    23    52    25
Fulham    30    7    3    20    30    65    24
Note: Standings read as Played, Won, Drawn, Lost, Goals For, Goals Against, and Points.

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