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Saturday 31 March 2012

Saturday's Barclays Premier League round-up

Man City's thrilling draw with Sunderland is highlight of a dramatic afternoon of action

Nicklas Bendtner scored one and set up two for Sunderland

Manchester City 3-3 Sunderland

Sunderland produced a brilliant performance to become the first team to stop Manchester City winning at home in the Barclays Premier League since February 2011.

Martin O'Neill's side took the lead as Sebastian Larsson produced a neat finish from Stephane Sessegnon's pass, but Mario Balotelli's spot-kick levelled after a foul on Edin Dzeko.

However, Nicklas Bendtner's header restored Sunderland's lead on the stroke of half-time - and the home fans were stunned as Larsson rifled in a third on 55 minutes.

In the closing stages, City scored twice in a minute to draw level, as  Balotelli shot home, then Aleksandar Kolarov drove home through a crowd of players.

But City could not find a winner as Sunderland ended their run of 20 consecutive Barclays Premier League victories and Mancini's side are now two points behind Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United.

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Aston Villa 2-4 Chelsea

Two late goals for Chelsea denied Aston Villa after Alex McLeish's men had produced a stirring fightback on an emotional day at Villa Park.

Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov was in the stands one day after it was confirmed he was suffering from leukaemia and received vociferous support from the supporters and players.

But Chelsea took control as Dan Sturridge slotted home from close range early on, then Branislav Ivanovic finished to make it 2-0 just after half-time.

James Collins headed in to pull one back for Villa on 76 minutes and Eric Lichaj rifled in to make it 2-2 with 11 minutes remaining.

Ivanovic's second on 83 minutes restored Chelsea's lead then in injury time, Fernando Torres's first Barclays Premier League goal since September 2011 sealed the win which keeps the Blues in contention for Champions League qualification.

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Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Arsenal

Goals from Adel Taarabt and Samba Diakite earned Queens Park Rangers a vital win which ended Arsenal's seven-match winning streak in the Barclays Premier League.

Taarabt fired home on 22 minutes for his first League goal of the season to put Rangers ahead, but Theo Walcott levelled by finishing after his own shot rebounded off the post.

However, Diakite hammered home from Jamie Mackie's pass to secure victory which means QPR are only in the drop zone by virtue of goal difference.

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Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-3 Bolton Wanderers

Bolton hit back to sink Wolves and leave the home side in deep trouble at the foot of the Barclays Premier League table.

Michael Kightly's drive gave Wolves the lead after half-time, but Martin Petrov's penalty and Marcos Alonso's header put the visitors 2-1 ahead.

Kevin Davies then fired in with a left-foot shot to make it 3-1 and although Matt Jarvis scored to set up a tense finale, Bolton held on.

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Wigan Athletic 2-0 Stoke City

Wigan boosted their survival hopes and made it four Barclays Premier League matches unbeaten with victory over Stoke.

Antolin Alcaraz headed Roberto Martinez's side in front shortly after half-time.

And although Jean Beausejour missed a couple of chances for Wigan to ensure some nervy times, Victor Moses struck in injury time to make the points safe.

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Everton 2-0 West Bromwich Albion

Everton proved too strong for West Brom as David Moyes' side moved up to seventh in the Barclays Premier League.

Leon Osman's shot deflected off of Albion's Gareth McAuley to put Everton in front on 18 minutes.

Then Victor Anichebe fired in to seal the victory for the Toffees who have now won four of their past seven League matches.

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Fulham 2-1 Norwich City

Early goals from Clint Dempsey and Damien Duff ended Fulham's run of three successive Barclays Premier League defeats at the expense of Norwich City.

Dempsey put the Cottagers ahead inside two minutes as he bundled home after John Ruddy parried Bryan Ruiz's shot, then Duff curled home from Dempsey's assist to make it 2-0.

Dempsey and Alex Kacaniklic hit the woodwork for Fulham, but Aaron Wilbraham scored with a deflected shot to set up a tense finish.

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Key Points

  • Man City fight back to draw, but Sunderland prevent them winning at home
  • Chelsea score late to deny Villa on emotional day in the Midlands
  • QPR end Arsenal run, Wigan beat Stoke, Wolves lose and Everton & Fulham win