Gunners shoot down Liverpool to go clear atop BPL
Arsenal reasserted their title credentials yesterday with an impressive 2-0 victory over Liverpool that sent them five points clear at the top of the Premier League table.
Arsene Wenger had seen his side beaten by Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea in their previous two home games, but they prevailed through goals from Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey to confirm their role as the team to beat.
Liverpool arrived at the Emirates Stadium hoping to leapfrog Arsenal to the top of the table, but the hosts took a 19th-minute lead when Cazorla hooked home after an initial header came back off the post.
The irrepressible Ramsey added a second just before the hour with a glorious strike, lifting a half-volley into the top-left corner from 25 yards to take his tally of goals to 10 in all competitions.
Luis Suarez spurned two late chances for the visitors, but Arsenal emerged unscathed as they increased their advantage over second-place Chelsea and third-place Liverpool to five points.
The display was particularly encouraging in the light of comfortable wins for Manchester United and Manchester United earlier in the day, but Wenger played down the significance of his side's early lead.
United maintained their recent momentum by winning 3-1 over Fulham at Craven Cottage to record a fourth consecutive victory in all competitions.
David Moyes's side effectively wrapped up the game inside 22 minutes through goals from Antonio Valencia, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
Alex Kacaniklic pulled a goal back for Fulham in the 65th minute with a shot that deflected in off Rooney, but the champions saw out a victory that elevated them to within two points of the top four.
City moved into the Champions League places after bouncing back from a 2-1 loss at Chelsea last weekend by demolishing Norwich City 7-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini created a stir by dropping goalkeeper Joe Hart following a succession of blunders, but he saw his side race into a 4-0 lead through a Bradley Johnson own goal and efforts from David Silva, Matija Nastasic and Alvaro Negredo.
Yaya Toure added a fifth with a sumptuous free-kick on the hour before Sergio Aguero bludgeoned home in the 71st minute and substitute Edin Dzeko added a late seventh.
Chelsea could only watch as their rivals ran riot after falling to an unexpected 2-0 loss at Newcastle United in the day's early-off kick.
Chelsea captain John Terry hit the bar and had a header cleared off the line in the first half, but Newcastle prevailed through Yoan Gouffran's 68th-minute diving header and a late Loic Remy strike.
The day also witnessed a freak goal by Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, who scored the quickest goal of the season to date with a wind-assisted 98-yard clearance that bounced over Southampton counterpart Artur Boruc after only 13 seconds.
However, Jay Rodriguez's 42nd-minute header from a raking James Ward-Prowse cross earned visitors Southampton a 1-1 draw that kept Mauricio Pochettino's side in the top five.
Hull City manager Steve Bruce enjoyed a 1-0 home win over former club Sunderland. Carlos Cuellar's first-half own goal decided the game and Sunderland had both Lee Cattermole and Andrea Dossena sent off before half-time for ugly fouls.
Efforts from Saido Berahino and Gareth McAuley gave West Bromwich Albion a 2-0 win at home to bottom club Crystal Palace, while West Ham United and Aston Villa drew 0-0 at Upton Park.
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