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City march on
- Van Persie double extends Arsenal run

London: Manchester City tightened their grip at the top of the Premier League with a 3-1 home victory over Newcastle United on Saturday.

Goals from Mario Balotelli, Micah Richards and Sergio Aguero condemned Newcastle to their first defeat of the season and left rampant City as the only unbeaten side in the league.

City have 34 points from a possible 36 this season to lead Manchester United by eight points, although the champions were hoping to cut it to five with victory at Swansea City in the late kick-off.

Javier Hernandez’s first-half goal gave Manchester United a hard-earned 1-0 win at Swansea on Saturday, ensuring the champions stayed within five points of leader City.

In a largely uneventful match, Mexico striker Hernandez pounced for his fifth goal of the season in the 11th minute after defender Angel Rangel gave the ball away to Welsh winger Ryan Giggs.

Arsenal maintained their improvement with a fifth consecutive league victory thanks to Robin van Persie’s double in a 2-1 win at Norwich City, which moved the London club above Liverpool into sixth place with 22 points.

“Robin is exceptional but we all know within the club that he’s an exceptional player,” manager Arsene Wenger said. “Sometimes, what was in the way was the fact he was injured. Since he plays, he shows just how good he is.”

Wenger also played down a report in a French newspaper that he could leave at the end of the season.

“I am completely committed to this club, it’s the club of my life and I’m completely committed to my contract,” Wenger, whose side have won six of their last seven league games after a woeful start to the campaign, said.

Liverpool (19) face fourth-placed Chelsea (22) on Sunday, with fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur (22) at home to eighth-placed Aston Villa on Monday.

(Reuters)

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