Premier League review

Liverpool top, City edge thriller

December 21, 2013
By ESPN staff

By beating Cardiff, Liverpool moved to the top of the Premier League table -- ahead of the Arsenal vs. Chelsea game on Monday night -- as Manchester City survived a scare to win a 4-2 thriller against Fulham and Manchester United stopped the rot at home with a 3-1 win over West Ham.

Striker Luis Suarez continued his incredible run of form with two more goals to fire Liverpool to a 3-1 win which saw them move one point clear at the top and make under-pressure Cardiff manager Malky Mackay's position even more difficult -- if that was at all possible.

The Uruguay international, who caught everyone by surprise by signing a new long-term contract on Friday, made it 19 for the season -- including a record 10 goals in December -- as Cardiff were despatched with ease.

Raheem Sterling was also on the scoresheet in between Suarez's two brilliant strikes and although Jordon Mutch's reply just before the hour breathed new life into Cardiff, the home side's grip on the three points was not to be loosened.

Manchester United cruised to a comfortable 3-1 home victory over West Ham to move within five points of the Champions League places.

Danny Welbeck opened the scoring after 25 minutes, slotting past Adrian from a tight angle after being played in by Wayne Rooney, who was back from injury.

Adnan Januzaj grabbed his first Premier League goal at Old Trafford before half time, and it was one to savour. The teenager feigned to shoot to beat a defender and calmly slotted home with his right foot.

Substitute Ashley Young then grabbed his second goal in as many games, slamming home with practically his first touch after Rooney teed him up.

Carlton Cole scored a late consolation for the visitors, but the result moves Manchester United up to seventh in the table, while West Ham continue to hover around the relegation zone.

Fulham were left rueing their luck as Jesus Navas helped continue Manchester City's recent resurgence on the road with the crucial goal in a 4-2 victory at Craven Cottage.

Joe Hart was reinstated for his first Premier League match since October 27 and quickly justified Manuel Pellegrini's decision with a smart save to deny Adel Taarabt.

However, City soon took the lead from a trademark Yaya Toure free-kick before Kompany stabbed home from close range to double their lead shortly before the break.

Kieran Richardson pulled one back for the hosts when firing past Hart from 12 yards, and the scores were level with 20 minutes remaining when Kompany bizarrely sliced the ball over his own goalkeeper and into the net.

However, Navas latched on to David Silva's through ball and fired under Maarten Stekelenburg before James Milner added a late fourth to send City second in the Premier League table.

Elsewhere, Newcastle remained sixth in the Premier League with a commanding 3-0 win at Crystal Palace.

Yohan Cabaye gave Newcastle the lead on 25 minutes after being set up by Moussa Sissoko’s pull-back, with his shot finding the net via a deflection. It was 2-0 on 39 minutes when Danny Gabbidon put through his own goal with a wild shank at a Mathieu Debuchy cross under no pressure.

It looked as though that would be the end of the scoring right up until the 86th minute, when Hatem Ben Arfa converted a penalty after Shola Ameobi had been brought down in the box.

Stoke move up to tenth following their hard-fought 2-1 victory over Aston Villa.

After a goalless first half, Charlie Adam made the breakthrough five minutes into the second period as he latched on to Peter Crouch’s knockdown to score from a tight angle.

However, Stoke gifted Villa a path back into the game when Erik Pieters’ header back towards Asmir Begovic was too short and Libor Kozak pounced to equalise.

That parity lasted just four minutes before Crouch pounced on a loose ball from close range to restore Stoke’s advantage. Crouch almost added another but his effort cannoned back off the woodwork.

Managerless West Brom grabbed a vital point as they drew 1-1 with Hull at the Hawthorns.

Jake Livermore capped off a swift counter-attack on 26 minutes with a crisp finish from a tight angle and it looked for a long while as though it would be enough for all three points. However, Matej Vydra struck with just four minutes to go to rescue a point.

Sunderland extended their unbeaten run to three matches with a goalless draw at home to Norwich.

The closest either side came to breaking the deadlock was when a sliced clearance of a corner allowed Wes Brown to beat Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy to the ball, but his header hit the post. Brown was then sent off in the final stages of the match, which will see him suspended for their trip to Everton on Boxing Day.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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