City leave it late, Arsenal register another win

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Updated: December 22, 2012

Manchester City showed true fighting spirit as they clinched 3 precious points in the 93rd minute with a Gareth Barry goal over a very spirited Reading that reamin rooted to the bottom of the table. The win keeping the heat on the red part of the City, United. who are in action on Sunday.

City have 39 points from 18 games 3 behind United, followed by four clubs on 30 points after a rainswept opening to the busy holiday programme yielded a mere 10 goals.

A second-half penalty by Mikel Arteta earned Arsenal a 1-0 victory at Wigan Athletic as the Gunners moved up to third place while north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur fell out of the top four after a 0-0 home draw with Stoke City.

Everton climbed to fourth, making light of Marouane Fellaini’s absence through suspension, to win 2-1 at West Ham United in game in which both sides ended with 10 men.

West Bromwich Albion also reached the 30-point mark after ending Norwich City’s 10-match unbeaten league run with Romelu Lukaku sealing a 2-1 victory 10 minutes from time after Norwich had taken the lead at the Hawthorns.

Chelsea, who have 29 points from two fewer games, can move back to third place if they beat Aston Villa on Sunday.

The bottom four Reading, Wigan, Queens Park Rangers and Southampton began their festive campaign with losses.

QPR’s under new manager Harry Redknapp had shown signs of improvement in recent times however that came to a halt with a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United while Sunderland also edged clear of the bottom three after a 1-0 win at Southampton.

Arsenal claimed a third consecutive victory and, although they remain 12 points behind United, the storm clouds that were hanging over Arsene Wenger appear to be dispersing. It wasn’t the sort of performance they produced last time out  in the 5-2 win at Reading on Monday but showed plenty of resilience to grind out three points after Arteta dispatched his spot kick following a tackle by Jean Beausejour on Theo Walcott.

Everton trailed to a Carlton Cole goal at Upton Park but levelled through Victor Anichebe after 64 minutes before Steven Pienaar scrambled in the winner.

Gareth Bale returned after injury for Tottenham but they missed the chance to end the day in third spot as Stoke proved miserley opposition at White Hart Lane.

Eighth-placed Stoke have kept nine clean sheets in 18 league games and are unbeaten in nine matches.

In the late kick off Liverpool moved up to eighth with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Fulham in one of their most impressive performances of the season. Skrtel, Gerrard, Downing and Suarez finding the back of the net and in particular Downing finally finding some form with a brilliant performance.

Tomorrow sees United at Swansea hoping to go 6 points clear, while a tired Chelsea will try to keep their momentum going under Benitez when they host Villa.