Man City 2-0 Chelsea
Newcastle 4-2 Southampton
West Ham vs Tottenham 21:45 SS3
LONDON – Manchester City galvanised their grip on second place in the Premier League and trimmed Manchester United’s lead back to 12 points with a 2-0 victory at home to nearest rivals Chelsea on Sunday.
After Chelsea’s Frank Lampard had seen a penalty saved by England colleague Joe Hart, City prevailed through a pair of fine second-half goals from man-of-the-match Yaya Toure and substitute Carlos Tevez.
Although City’s chances of retaining their league title remain decidedly slender, they now have a seven-point advantage over Chelsea, who could slip to fourth if Tottenham Hotspur overcome West Ham United on Monday.
Both City manager Roberto Mancini and his Chelsea counterpart Rafael Benitez flooded their sides with midfielders at the Etihad Stadium, while Benitez opted to leave John Terry and Fernando Torres on the bench.
City deployed Sergio Aguero as a lone striker and although he had to plough a lone furrow, it was the hosts who dominated the first half.
Visiting goalkeeper Petr Cech had to tip a header from Matija Nastasic over the bar, while Gary Cahill did well to block a goal-bound volley from Pablo Zabaleta.
City handed a rare start to Jack Rodwell and the midfielder threatened twice shortly before halftime, extending Cech with first a 25-yard drive and then a header from the resulting corner.
Chelsea were gifted an opportunity to open the scoring early in the second half when Hart was adjudged to have fouled Demba Ba, but the England goalkeeper redeemed himself with an excellent save from Lampard’s spot-kick.
Aguero dinked a shot onto the roof of the net before City’s enterprise finally told in the 63rd minute.
Toure collected a pass from David Silva and deftly evaded the attentions of four visiting defenders before shaping a shot around Cech that nestled in the bottom-right corner.
Tevez settled the encounter in style in the 85th minute, collecting the ball 22 yards from goal and arrowing a shot into the top-left corner.
In the day’s other game, Newcastle edged relegation rivals Southampton 4-2 in a topsy-turvy game at St James’ Park that took Alan Pardew’s side six points clear of the bottom three.