City march on, Van Persie stars again
Manchester City ended Newcastle United's unbeaten start to the season on Saturday with a 3-1 victory to maintain their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League standings.
Goals from Mario Balotelli, Micah Richards and Sergio Aguero secured all three points for City, who have now won 11 and drawn one in their 12 games this season - the best start to a Premier League campaign in history.
Balotelli opened the scoring from the penalty spot on 41 minutes before Richards struck just before half-time to leave Newcastle in trouble. Argentinian striker Aguero made it 3-0 on 72 minutes with another penalty before Dan Gosling netted a consolation strike for Newcastle on 89 minutes.
"As players, as a team, we are very strong now but the season is long and there will be difficult moments ahead," a satisfied Mancini said. "For this reason, it's important we know we can score goals and win games in a row."
Manchester United kept the pressure on their crosstown rivals in the late kick-off after a Javier Hernandez goal gave them a 1-0 win at Swansea City.
Mexican international Hernandez struck on 11 minutes to settle a drab encounter at the Liberty Stadium as Sir Alex Ferguson's team recorded their fifth consecutive clean sheet since their 6-1 thrashing by City last month.
Van Persie stars again
In other matches on Saturday, Robin van Persie scored twice as Arsenal came from behind to defeat Norwich City 2-1 at Carrow Road to move up one spot to sixth. Van Persie took his goal tally for 2011 to a remarkable 31 in 29 games as Arsenal recorded their fifth consecutive league victory.
Norwich took the lead when Steve Morison pounced on a blunder by Per Mertesacker on 16 minutes before Dutch striker van Persie equalised in the 26th minute, netting the winner on 59 minutes.
It was a very positive win, and the team is growing from game to game.
"It was a very positive win, and the team is growing from game to game," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said before praising van Persie's contribution. "He is exceptional, but we all know within the club that he's an exceptional player. Sometimes, what was in the way was the fact he was injured. Since he plays, Robin shows just how good he is."
QPR edge five-goal thriller
A pulsating game at the Britannia Stadium saw Queens Park Ranges down Stoke City 3-2. Jon Walters put Stoke 1-0 up after eight minutes, latching on to Peter Crouch's through ball before rifling past Paddy Kenny into the QPR goal.
But QPR levelled through Heidar Helguson on 22 minutes before goals from Luke Young and Helguson's second gave the visitors a 3-1 lead. Stoke pulled a goal back through Ryan Shawcross midway through the second half but Rangers held on.
A stormy match at Goodison Park saw Everton come from behind to down Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1. Wolves took the lead when Marouane Fellaini was adjudged to have brought down Wolves midfielder David Edwards inside the area to concede a penalty. Everton protested to no avail before Stephen Hunt stepped up to blast his spot-kick down the middle for 1-0.
The Toffees levelled on 44 minutes, however, when defender Phil Jagielka headed in England team-mate Leighton Baines' cross. Baines then struck the winner from the penalty spot seven minutes from time.
In the battle of the bottom two, Blackburn Rover's Ayegbeni Yakubu struck a dramatic injury-time penalty, which was won by Rovers goalkeeper Paul Robinson, to give his side a 3-3 draw against Wigan Athletic. Blackburn's second goal was scored by David Hoilett after Morten Gamst Pedersen crossed for the goal.
At the Hawthorns, Irish international Shane Long made a match-winning return from injury as West Bromwich Albion downed struggling Bolton Wanderers 2-1.
The Baggies went ahead on 16 minutes when Jerome Thomas sprang Bolton's offside trap to score. But Thomas was the villain five minutes later when he conceded a penalty duly converted by Ivan Klasnic. Long eventually wrapped up the win for Roy Hodgson's side, though, striking his fourth goal of the season on 59 minutes.
In Saturday's other game, Sunderland and Fulham battled to a goalless draw at the Stadium of Light.