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April 18, 2014

Verona's Alessandro Agostini (l) challenges for the ball with Mariano Izco.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Man City slickers hit Arsenal for six

Manchester City''s Sergio Agüero celebrates his goal.
Man City slickers hit Arsenal for six

Arsenal felt the full force of Manchester City’s rampant attack to slump to a wild 6-3 loss in the Premier League, cutting its lead over Chelsea to two points and throwing the title race wide open. Sergio Agüero, who scored the opening goal, left the field with a calf injury.

LONDON — Manchester City exposed the first cracks in Arsenal’s title challenge, beating the Premier League leader 6-3 at the Etihad Stadium as its attacking talents cut loose in another free-scoring home display yesterday.

City’s stylish showmen sealed their eighth consecutive home league success in an exhilarating match by outgunning Arsenal, whose advantage at the top was cut to two points after Chelsea sneaked a 2-1 win at home to Crystal Palace.

It was the third time this season that City had scored six goals or more, after they dished out similarly crushing blows to Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City, and the win moved them up to third place within three points of top spot.

The victory also put down a light blue marker in a now-congested title race that could have turned decisively in Arsenal’s favour had the visitors managed to conjure a win.

City, whose early opener from Sergio Agüero was cancelled out by Theo Walcott, opened up a two-goal lead with Álvaro Negredo and Fernandinho efforts either side of halftime.

Arsenal rallied with a superb second by Walcott, who curled the ball into the top corner, but David Silva restored City’s two-goal advantage from close range and Fernandinho poked home his second as City kept up its 100 percent home league record.

Even defender Per Mertesacker’s late consolation for Arsenal was trumped by City as Yaya Touré stroked in a stoppage time penalty.

The final whistle prompted a scuffle between Mertesacker and Mesut Özil, with the centre back seemingly angered by his Germany teammate’s reluctance to applaud the visiting fans.

“Kun” Agüero went off with a calf injury in the 50th minute. “Thanks for the supporting messages. They are going to make me some tests tomorrow (today), but I want you to know that I’m not going to give up,” wrote Agüero on his Twitter account.

Everton’s 4-1 win over visitors Fulham moved it into the Champions League spots as it jumped to fourth, while at the other end of the table West Ham United played out a 0-0 draw with bottom side Sunderland that was little use to either team.

Arsenal’s failure to pull clear at the top was a fillip for Chelsea but struggling Crystal Palace proved trickier opponents than expected and coach José Mourinho ended the match grateful to Petr Cech for helping them over the finish line.

The Chelsea keeper made a string of fine saves to keep the visitors at bay after midfielder Ramires put the home side back in front with a curler 10 minutes before halftime.

Fernando Torres had given Chelsea the lead after 16 minutes with a tap-in, but Palace striker Marouane Chamakh scored for the third consecutive league game with a volley to equalize.

“To be top... by December or even by the end of January I don’t think is crucial,” Mourinho told reporters. “I think this will be open till very very late. It’s a very hard league.”

SCOTTISH LEAGUE. Celtic bounced back from its midweek 6-1 thrashing by Barcelona in the Champions League by beating Hibernian 1-0 yesterday to maintain its seven-point lead in the Scottish Premiership.

Teemu Pukki scored in the 29th minute to keep the defending champions undefeated after 15 games of their title defence.

The closest Hibs came to an equalizer was when Liam Craig hit a shot against the post.

Inverness stayed second with a 2-0 win at bottom side Hearts, secured by goals by Billy McKay that took his tally for the season to 15.

Dundee United and Aberdeen both won to remain level on points in third and fourth, respectively.

AP, Reuters

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