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Monday 25 February 2013

Roberto Mancini: It's not important to look at the table

A review of the weekend's fixtures in the Barclays Premier League

  • Gareth Bale watches the first of his two goals go in against West Ham

  • Manchester City's Joe Hart saves Frank Lampard's penalty

  • Newcastle's Papiss Cisse puts his side 2-1 up against Southampton

  • Arouna Kone was another scorer of two goals for Wigan against Reading

  • Rafael struck a blistering volley from distance to help Man United beat QPR 2-0

  • Santi Cazorla celebrates Arsenal's second goal against Aston Villa with five minutes to go

  • West Brom striker Romelu Lukaku scores from the penalty spot against Sunderland

  • Grant Holt wheels away after grabbing Norwich's last-gasp winner against Everton

  • Dimitar Berbatov struck the only goal fro Fulham against Stoke

Andre Villas-Boas hailed the "super talent" of Gareth Bale as the Tottenham Hotspur player scored a last-minute long-range strike to send his side into third position in the Barclays Premier League.

Bale had given Spurs the lead but goals from Andy Carroll and Joe Cole put West Ham ahead. Gylfi Sigurdsson bundled in an equaliser for Spurs before Bale rifled in his 15th league goal of the season to earn three points that sent his side above Chelsea.

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini says his side will not give up on the title race as Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez took advantage of a rare Frank Lampard penalty miss to fire City to their first Barclays Premier League win in a month.

Lampard was a kick away from his 200th Chelsea goal when he lined up a second-half spot-kick at the Etihad Stadium but Joe Hart, who had fouled Demba Ba for the penalty, saved from his England team-mate. Yaya Toure made Chelsea pay with a fine finish from inside the area and substitute Tevez made victory certain with a long-range effort late on.

"In football, it is finished when it is finished, the last minute of the last game," said Mancini. "If we arrive at four games to go with United 12 points ahead, it is finished but our job is to continue to work."

The result reduced Manchester United's lead at the top of the table to 12 points. United had strengthened their hold on the Barclays Premier League with a 2-0 win against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday. There was little to choose between the two sides until Rafael broke the deadlock with a spectacular strike from distance that left Julio Cesar with no chance.

Ryan Giggs doubled the lead for the runaway leaders with 10 minutes to go, but the first-half back injury sustained by the division’s leading goalscorer Robin van Persie after he fell awkwardly will be a concern to Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.

In Sunday's other match Newcastle United eased concerns of relegation with a 4-2 victory over Southampton. After going 1-0 down to Morgan Schneiderlin goals from Moussa Sissoko and Papiss Cisse gave Newcastle a half-time lead. Rickie Lampbert equalised for Southampton but a Yohan Cabaye penalty and an own goal from Jos Hooiveld sent Alan Pardew’s team up two places to 14th on 30 points, going  above Southampton who dropped to 16th on 27 points, three points above the drop zone.

On Saturday, Arsenal left it late to seal victory against Aston Villa despite midfielder Santi Cazorla giving them a sixth-minute lead. After missing several chances the hosts were pegged back by Andreas Weimann's goal midway through the second period, but Cazorla struck again with only five minutes remaining to ensure the Gunners edged to within a point of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.

Everton's UEFA Champions League hopes suffered a blow after they succumbed to a dramatic defeat at Norwich City. The Toffees seemed in control after Leon Osman had given them the lead on 39 minutes but January loan signing Kei Kamara scored an equaliser on 84 minutes and Grant Holt snatched a late winner for the Canaries.

Wigan Athletic boosted their hopes of surviving relegation with a 3-0 success at Reading, who have been sucked back into the bottom three. Arouna Kone got the final touch on Maynor Figueroa's shot before adding a second in added time at the end of the first half. Within three minutes of the restart Roberto Martinez's side were three goals to the good thanks to a fine finish by Figueroa. To compound Reading's afternoon Pavel Pogrebnyak was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Figueroa.

Romelu Lukaku scored twice as West Bromwich Albion overcame Sunderland 2-1 at The Hawthorns. The Belgian forward scored from the penalty spot on 39 minutes and again with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, rendering Stephane Sessegnon's 79th-minute effort academic.

In Saturday's early match, Fulham moved to within a point of Stoke City after beating them 1-0 at Craven Cottage. Dimitar Berbatov marked his 200th Barclays Premier League appearance with a volleyed goal. Fulham were indebted to goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, who saved a second-half penalty from Jon Walters.

With our Matchday Live service before the match you get the build-up with manager press conferences, the latest team news and head-to-head statistics. After the match, read our reports including manager reactions. Just click on the links below.

Saturday 23 February

FT: Fulham 1-0 Stoke City  |  #FULSTK  |  Matchday Live >>

FT: Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa  |  #ARSAVL  |  Matchday Live >>

FT: Norwich City 2-1 Everton  |  #NOREVE |  Matchday Live >>

FT: Queens Park Rangers 0-2 Manchester United  |  #QPRMUN  |  Matchday Live >>

FT: Reading 0-3 WiganAthletic  |  #RDGWIG  |  Matchday Live >>

FT: West Bromwich Albion 2-1 Sunderland  |  #WBASUN |  Matchday Live >>

Sunday 24 February

FT Manchester City 2-0 Chelsea  |  #MCICHE  |  Matchday Live >>

FT Newcastle United 4-2 Southampton  |  #NEWSOU  |  Matchday Live >>

Monday 25 February

FT West Ham United 2-3 Tottenham Hotspur  |  #WHUTOT  |  Matchday Live >>

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