City go top, Arsenal close behind
Carlos Tevez scored twice as Manchester City survived a late fightback to beat Wolves 4-3 and move to the top of the Premier League today. Argentinian international Tevez struck his 14th and 15th goals of the season while Ivorian brothers Kolo and Yaya Toure both netted as City took a slender one-point lead over Manchester United.
United, who also have three games in hand over City, will return to the top if they avoid defeat to fifth-placed Tottenham in tomorrow's crunch match at White Hart Lane.
Serbian midfielder Nenad Milijas had fired Wolves into a shock lead on 12 minutes, rifling home a rebound after a Matthew Jarvis cross. City's blushes were spared five minutes before half-time however when Kolo Toure controlled on the edge of the six-yard box and prodded a deflected shot past Wolves keeper Wayne Hennessey.
And four minutes after the restart, City were in front, captain Tevez weaving his way through the Wolves defence before finishing calmly. Yaya Toure made it 3-1 five minutes later, lifting his shot over Hennessey to join his brother on the scoresheet after good work by £27m signing Edin Dzeko, making his debut for City.
Tevez made it four on 66 minutes, stooping to steer home as City looked to be cruising to victory. But Kevin Doyle slotted a late penalty for Wolves to make it 4-2 and an 86th-minute goal from French defender Ronald Zubar set up a nerve-jangling finale.
City manager Roberto Mancini was happy with the way his side performed after a poor start to the game. "I think we were bad in the first 20 minutes," he said. "We didn't play. But after that we played well. We scored four goals and had two or three good chances."
Blues on road to recovery
Chelsea maintained their title hopes with a laboured 2-0 win over Blackburn thanks to second-half goals from Branislav Ivanovic and Nicolas Anelka. Ivanovic opened the scoring on 57 minutes, firing a low shot through a forest of legs to the relief of under-pressure manager Carlo Ancelotti, before a flicked effort from Anelka on 76 minutes made the game safe.
The result put Chelsea back into the top four ahead of Spurs' match against Manchester United. Ancelotti voiced hope that the result meant Chelsea had finally turned the corner after a protracted form slump. "I think that the difficult moment is gone," Ancelotti told Sky Sports. "We are coming back to get good results. It's not easy to come back and close the gap for the first position but we have to try."
In the late kick-off, third-placed Arsenal piled the pressure on West Ham manager Avram Grant after cruising to a comfortable 3-0 victory at Upton Park courtesy of two goals from Robin Van Persie and one from Theo Walcott.
A miserable evening for the Hammers was completed when new signing Wayne Bridge hacked down Walcott to concede the penalty for Arsenal's third, a development which sent fans streaming towards the exits. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was pleased his side had bounced back from two disappointing results in the FA and League Cups to extend their unbeaten run in the Premier League to five matches.
"We are in a good run in the Premiership and it's important to continue," said Wenger, who was delighted with the form of Van Persie. "Today is the sharpest I've seen him. He gets stronger and stronger with every game," the Arsenal boss told ESPN.
At the Hawthorns, two goals from Peter Odemwingie - including an 87th-minute winner - handed West Bromwich Albion a 3-2 victory over Blackpool as the Baggies ended their six-match losing streak. Blackpool looked to have secured a share of the points when Gary Taylor-Fletcher equalised on 80 minutes before Odemwingie's late effort denied Ian Holloway's men a draw.
Stoke meanwhile moved up to eighth place with a 2-0 win over Bolton. Stoke defender Danny Higginbotham opened the scoring, bundling home from close range on 37 minutes. A Matthew Etherington penalty doubled the Potters' lead on 64 minutes to secure the points.
At the DW Stadium, substitute Andrew Johnson scored an 86th-minute equaliser just 10 minutes after coming on as Fulham secured a 1-1 draw against Wigan, who had taken the lead through striker Hugo Rodallega.