Premier League review

Gibson turns Manchester United hero

January 31, 2012
By ESPN staff

Manchester United's victory over Stoke took them level with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League after Roberto Mancini's men were beaten at Everton.

Darron Gibson Everton goal v Man City
PA PhotosDarron Gibson did his former employers a favour and was regaled at his old stamping ground

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Manchester City head the table on goal difference, but have now tasted defeat at Goodison Park in each of the last three seasons following Everton's 1-0 victory, which was sealed by former Manchester United player Darron Gibson.

The visitors shaded a fiercely-contested first half, with Samir Nasri's thunderbolt - which rebounded off the bar - the closest either side came to breaking the deadlock. The most drama was generated by bizarre scenes five minutes before half-time, as a fan handcuffed himself to one of the posts on Joe Hart's goal, prompting a delay of four minutes before he was moved away.

Gibson gave the Toffees a shock advantage on the hour, drilling in a shot from 20 yards that took a deflection off Gareth Barry and spun into the goal. City toiled without reward in their attempts to find an equaliser, allowing United right back into the title race.

Manchester United bounced back from their weekend FA Cup exit with a routine 2-0 success over Stoke at Old Trafford.

United produced a listless performance for the bulk of the opening period, but took the lead via Javier Hernandez's penalty following Jermaine Pennant's foul on Park Ji-sung. Despite Sir Alex Ferguson men failing to fire going forward, they did at least manage to keep goalkeeper Ben Amos - in due to Anders Lindegaard's injury and David de Gea's illness - out of any danger.

A second penalty effectively killed the game off: Dimitar Berbatov stepped up to score this time after Jonathan Walters brought down Antonio Valencia.

A brace from Gareth Bale in Tottenham's 3-1 home win over Wigan kept the pressure on the top two.

Bale opened the scoring for the hosts, collecting Luka Modric's pass and flicking an inventive finish beyond Ali Al-Habsi - and shortly afterwards Modric doubled the advantage by blazing a strike home from 20 yards. Bale notched a third with another fine effort, beating James McArthur and rifling home, before McArthur atoned for his error by pulling a goal back.

An own goal from Neil Taylor in the final minute of injury time earned 10-man Chelsea a 1-1 draw with Swansea at the Liberty Stadium.

Former Chelsea player Scott Sinclair broke the deadlock shortly before the interval - the first goal the Blues have conceded in five games - by conjuring a world-class left-footed strike that left Petr Cech with no chance. The Blues' quest for parity was hampered when Ashley Cole was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Nathan Dyer. However, they did get back on level terms with seconds remaining when Jose Bosingwa's shot was diverted in by Taylor.

Liverpool recorded just their second win in seven league games with a resounding 3-0 triumph over Wolves at Molineux, with Andy Carroll crowning his one-year anniversary as a Liverpool player with a goal.

Carroll grabbed his first in 12 Premier League games - and only his seventh in a Liverpool shirt - early in the second period, notching from close range having met Charlie Adam's pass. Craig Bellamy doubled the advantage when his tame shot was let in by his countryman Wayne Hennessy in the Wolves net, and Dirk Kuyt rounded off the scoring with a low shot from a tricky angle.