Premier League round-up: Van Persie on target as United maintain gap over City
The Premier League showcased yet more entertaining football this weekend, as Robin Van Persie yet again proved his worth with a goal in the 2-1 victory over Liverpool, while Manchester City beat Arsenal 2-0 and Chelsea thrashed Stoke 4-0.
Manchester United was first up in the Super Sunday billing and showed why they are currently the runaway leaders in the league. Robin Van Persie fired them ahead, as he took his tally to 21 goals for the season.
The Dutch maestro then turned provider, as his teasing set piece was finished by Nemanja Vidic – despite Patrice Evra’s attempts to claim the goal. Liverpool came back strong, as Daniel Sturridge reduced the deficit to one with a rebounded effort following a Steven Gerrard shot.
The red half of Merseyside were unable to draw level and Manchester United were able to keep up their title push with a 2-1 victory.
Manchester City faced a stern task of keeping the title chase alive with a trip to Arsenal. Arsenal’s game plan was shattered in the early stages, after Laurent Koscielny saw red for hauling down Edin Dzeko in the box.
The Bosnian missed from the resulting spot-kick, but was reprieved after James Milner fired the Citizens ahead with an angled shot. Arsenal fought valiantly but were sucker-punched in the 32nd minute, as Edin Dzeko went from zero to hero, to make it 2-0 to City and virtually game over.
There was still time for Vincent Kompany to see red, after a strong tackle saw him controversially sent off. City were able to see the 2-0 scoreline out, ensuring they lost no further ground on rivals Manchester United.
Chelsea thrashed Stoke City 4-0 as Jon Walters had a day to forget. Walters managed to score two own goals and then miss a penalty as the European Champions ran riot at the Britannia. Eden Hazard and Frank Lampard got on the scoresheet in an impressive victory for the Blues.
Sunderland claimed a 3-0 victory over West Ham at the Stadium of Light, while Reading produced a superb comeback, as they came from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in dramatic fashion against West Brom.
Villa slipped into the bottom three following to defeat Southampton at home. Rickie Lambert’s spot-kick ensured a 1-0 victory for the Saints.
Results elsewhere ended in draws: Fulham 1-1 Wigan, Everton 0-0 Swansea, Norwich 0-0 Newcastle, QPR 0-0 Tottenham.
Thomas Bradley, Football correnspondent