Manchester: Mario Balotelli scored the winner with a stoppage-time penalty as Premier League leaders Manchester City beat title rivals Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 on Sunday but Manchester United remained snapping at their heels with a 2-1 victory against Arsenal.
Citys 100 per cent home record seemed about to end after Tottenham recovered from a two-goal deficit in a nine-minute spell midway through the second half. The hosts had gone ahead in the 56th minute through Samir Nasri and doubled their lead three minutes later, courtesy Joleon Lescotts bundled effort.
Spurs got themselves right back in it with a Jermain Defoe goal on 60 minutes after a blunder by City defender Stefan Savic followed five minutes later by an exquisite Gareth Bale strike.
The visitors were a whisker away from grabbing all the points in stoppage time when Defoe went agonisingly wide with the goal gaping but City made the most of their chance at the other end when Ledley King brought down Balotelli.
The Italian substitute, who Spurs manager Harry Redknapp felt should not still have been on the pitch after appearing to stamp on Scott Parker earlier, converted calmly to send the packed stadium into raptures.
City moved to 54 points from 22 games, with second-placed Manchester United on 51. Spurs stay third with 46.
United made it another Manchester double over north London when they won a rather less dramatic but equally exciting game at the Emirates to leave Arsenal a distant fifth after a third consecutive league defeat.
The two Manchester clubs beat Spurs and Arsenal by a combined goal tally of 13-3 on the same weekend in August and United followed Citys fortunate win over Spurs with goals from Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck sandwiched either side of Robin van Persies equaliser for the home side.