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Friday 17 January 2014

Saturday review: Cazorla keeps Arsenal at the top

Spaniard scores twice to beat Fulham while Man City maintain pressure with 4-1 win over Cardiff

Matchweek 22 Gallery

Arsenal’s Barclays Premier League title charge remained on track after Santi Cazorla scored twice to seal a 2-0 home victory over Fulham, while Manchester City remained a point behind after another free-scoring performance against Cardiff City, whom they overcame 4-2.

There was little to choose between Arsenal and Fulham in the hosts' 200th London derby in the Barclays Premier League, and the visitors were unlucky not to take the lead through Steve Sidwell in the first period. However, two quickfire strikes in the second half by Cazorla ensured Arsenal preserved their place at the top of the table.

Manchester City are just a point further back after they overwhelmed Cardiff City with another goal-laden performance at the Etihad Stadium. Edin Dzeko's early strike was cancelled out by Cardiff's Craig Noone, but Jesus Navas, Yaya Toure and substitute Sergio Aguero gave Manuel Pellegrini's side breathing space before Fraizer Campbell struck late on. The defeat meant Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side slipped to the bottom of the table.

Liverpool missed out on the chance to keep up with the leading pack as they were held to a 2-2 draw at home by Aston Villa, although the Reds did well to earn a point after going two down to goals by Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke.

Daniel Sturridge reduced the arrears before the interval and Steven Gerrard levelled from the penalty spot early in the second half after Luis Suarez had been brought down by Brad Guzan, but Guzan refused to be denied thereafter. The draw leaves fourth-placed Liverpool eight points behind Arsenal, while Aston Villa move up to 10th.

Newcastle United ended a four-match losing streak in all competitions with a 3-1 win over West Ham United at the Boleyn Ground. The visitors had lost their last three in the top flight and had not beaten West Ham in three attempts but went ahead through Yohan Cabaye after 15 minutes, registering Newcastle's first Barclays Premier League goal of 2014 with a cool finish from inside the area.

Loic Remy ended his own four-match barren run just past the half-hour, putting Alan Pardew's side firmly in control with a close-range effort. Despite being on the back foot for much of the half, the Hammers went in only a goal behind after Carlton Cole's shot was parried by Tim Krul and deflected in by Mike Williamson. Cabaye wrapped up the points in the 95th minute after the hosts had failed to make their long spells of pressure count in the second half. 

Ryan Bennett's late goal sealed a 1-0 victory over Hull City for Norwich City. The hosts came into the match having scored 10 goals in as many Barclays Premier League matches at Carrow Road, and a lack of finishing looked as if it would let them down in a match they dominated, but Bennett leapt highest to head in a Robert Snodgrass corner  in the 87th minute, moving Norwich five points above the relegation zone.

Jason Puncheon's second-half strike handed Tony Pulis a priceless win against his former club as Crystal Palace beat Stoke City 1-0 at Selhurst Park. After spectacularly missing from the penalty spot in Palace's 2-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, Puncheon made the most of a mistake by Stoke winger Oussama Assaidi in the 51st minute to fire low into the net and hand the hosts their first win in four league matches.

The win meant that Palace, bottom of the table in the morning, climbed out of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone and up to 16th.

In the day's early match, goals from Fabio Borini and Adam Johnson secured Sunderland a dramatic 2-2 draw at home to Southampton. The visiting side looked set for victory after first-half goals from Jay Rodriguez and Dejan Lovren but Borini halved the deficit before half-time, and Johnson maintained his excellent form with a superb right-footed strike to level an exhilarating contest and keep Sunderland off the bottom.

To see more on how the matches unfolded and the best photos, click on the Matchday Live links below.

FT Sunderland 2-2 Southampton  |  #SUNSOU  |  Matchday Live >>

FT Arsenal 2-0 Fulham  |  #ARSFUL  |  Matchday Live >>

FT Crystal Palace 1-0 Stoke City  |  #CRYSTK   |   Matchday Live >>

FT Manchester City 4-2 Cardiff City  |  #MCICAR  |  Matchday Live >>

FT Norwich City 1-0 Hull City  |  #NORHUL  |  Matchday Live >>

FT West Ham United 1-3 Newcastle United  |  #WHUNEW  |  Matchday Live >>

FT Liverpool 2-2 Aston Villa  |  #LIVAVL  |  Matchday Live >>

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Key Points

  • Arsenal remain top of the Barclays Premier League after a 2-0 win over Fulham, while Man City stay a point behind following a 4-2 triumph over Cardiff City
  • Newcastle United win 3-1 at West Ham United, while Crystal Palace and Norwich City earn precious 1-0 victories
  • Liverpool held to a 2-2 draw by Aston Villa in the late fixture