On a dramatic Sunday, Manchester City FC and Manchester United FC secured victories against Tottenham Hotspur FC and Arsenal FC respectively to move well clear of the chasing pack in the Premier League title race.
Earlier in the season, both Manchester sides had earned high-scoring wins against the capital clubs on the same day but it was closer this time. Leaders City kicked off first and looked to be making light work of third-placed visitors Tottenham Hotspur FC when two goals in three second-half minutes by Samir Nasri and Joleon Lescott gave them a comfortable lead, only for Jermain Defoe and Gareth Bale to almost instantly redress the balance.
However Mario Balotelli was brought on and deep into added time was brought down by Ledley King. The Italy forward converted the resulting penalty and City midfielder James Milner said: "It's massive, we knew how big a game it was. They've been playing really well and they had the incentive with how we played at their place. It was an exciting game for the neutral but we'd like it a bit more boring next time."
United remain within three points, and are five ahead of Spurs, after a 2-1 win at Arsenal. Daniel Welbeck was the hero, scoring the 81st-minute winner after Robin van Persie's 19th league goal of the season had cancelled out Antonio Valencia's headed opener. Sir Alex Ferguson reflected: "We said before the game that winning after City had won their game was the important thing. We did it in the right way, we played football and were adventurous and had belief in ourselves. I'm delighted with that at this time of the season."
Arsenal, meanwhile, are now five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea FC, who drew 0-0 at Norwich City FC on Saturday. Newcastle FC are level on points with Arsène Wenger's side after losing 5-2 at Fulham FC, for whom Clint Dempsey scored a hat-trick, while Liverpool FC are a point back in seventh following their 3-1 defeat at lowly Bolton Wanderers FC. Elsewhere, Aston Villa FC, Queens Park Rangers FC, Sunderland AFC and West Bromwich Albion FC all won, while Everton FC drew 1-1 with Blackburn Rovers FC.
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|Last updated: 23/01/2012 08:37 CET|
Van Persie 71
|1||Manchester City FC||22||54|
|2||Manchester United FC||22||51|
|3||Tottenham Hotspur FC||22||46|
|6||Newcastle United FC||22||36|
|8||Stoke City FC||22||30|
|9||Norwich City FC||22||29|
|11||Aston Villa FC||22||27|
|13||Swansea City AFC||22||26|
|15||West Bromwich Albion FC||22||25|
|16||Queens Park Rangers FC||22||20|
|17||Bolton Wanderers FC||22||19|
|18||Blackburn Rovers FC||22||18|
|19||Wolverhampton Wanderers FC||22||18|
|20||Wigan Athletic FC||22||15|