City smash Spurs, Chelsea frustrated
Manchester City surged to the top of the Premier League with a 5-1 victory at Tottenham, although a suspected hamstring injury to Sergio Aguero will have dampened the mood slightly.
Aguero gave City a deserved lead on the quarter-hour mark, latching onto David Silva's through ball to slide it in past Hugo Loris and score for the eighth successive game. It made it seven goals in five games for Aguero since he returned from a month out with a calf problem in the FA Cup replay against Blackburn.
Spurs thought they had levelled when Michael Dawson side-footed Christian Eriksen's free kick in at the back post, but he was ruled to have been offside.
Aguero then limped off shortly before half-time with a suspected hamstring injury, with Stevan Jovetic coming on in his place.
Five minutes after the restart, Spurs were down to 10 men when Danny Rose was adjudged to have brought down Edin Dzeko in the box, despite appearing to get the ball. Yaya Toure stepped up to send Lloris the wrong way and make it 2-0.
It didn't take long for City to grab their next goal. Silva latched onto Pablo Zabaleta's cut-back and fired off a shot that Lloris saved onto the post, only for Dzeko to stroke in the rebound on 53 minutes.
However, Spurs pulled one back shortly before the hour with Etienne Capoue spinning in the box and firing home, in off the outstretched arm of Fernandinho.
Any chance of an unlikely comeback was snuffed out when Jovetic curled the ball into the bottom left corner via a deflection from Vlad Chiriches on 77 minutes. Vincent Kompany then capped off the victory a minute from time by scrambling the ball home when Dzeko's shot dropped kindly into his path.
Chelsea began life after Juan Mata by dropping points at home for just the second time this season, as West Ham held on for a goalless draw.
It means Jose Mourinho’s men will not be able to overtake Manchester City at the top of the table even if they win at the Etihad Stadium when the two sides meet in their next Premier League outing on Monday night.
The closest Chelsea came to opening the scoring in the first half was shortly before half-time when John Terry’s header brought a terrific save from Adrian with his legs. The West Ham goalkeeper was also tested before the break by an Oscar drive, but impressed again with another fine stop.
West Ham continued to hold their own in the second half and should even have taken the lead midway through it but Andy Carroll squandered a gilt-edged opportunity after Petr Cech failed to deal with a cross, but the striker produced a fresh-air swipe at the ball instead.
Eden Hazard and Frank Lampard both came close to breaking the deadlock but were denied by either good defending or narrowly missing the target.
Aston Villa emerged as 4-3 victors from a frantic Midlands derby against West Brom.
At Villa Park, West Brom took the lead after just four minutes in stunning fashion, as Chris Brunt picked the ball up 35 yards from goal and laced a shot into the top corner. The flying start continued five minutes later as James Morrison’s low cross from the left was deflected past his own goalkeeper by Villa’s Fabian Delph.
The hosts responded almost immediately by opting for route one, a long clearance being flicked on to Andreas Weimann who crashed the ball into the net from 12 yards. By the 25th minute, they were level. Matthew Lowton provided a low cross that was turned home by Leandro Bacuna six yards out.
Twelve minutes later, a remarkable turnaround was complete, and it was Delph scoring at the correct end this time. Another long ball was flicked on by Christian Benteke to Delph, who beat Steven Reid with a nice turn before drilling the ball high into the net.
Barely had Villa established a lead than they threw it away with more porous defending. Victor Anichebe and Morrison linked up well to set up Youssouf Mulumbu who created space for himself to equalise, and close the half at six goals, three for each side, only the sixth time that had happened in a Premier League first half.
It was 64 minutes before the score was added to as Benteke converted from the penalty spot after he himself was brought down by Diego Lugano. That was enough to seal a dramatic 4-3 victory, putting Villa up to 10th place, with their Midlands rivals just three points above the drop zone.
Sunderland moved out of the bottom three in the Premier League table after a hard-earned 1-0 victory against Stoke, despite playing most of the second half against 10 men.
After a lively start, it was Sunderland who made the breakthrough as Fabio Borini’s shot proved too hot for Asmir Begovic to handle and Adam Johnson was quickest to the rebound to put the hosts ahead. It was Johnson’s sixth league goal of the season, twice as many as any other Sunderland player.
Peter Crouch was presented with an opportunity to equalise as Vito Mannone collided with his own defender John O’Shea, but the Italian recovered to make a fine double stop and deny the Stoke striker.
Stoke’s task became even more difficult in the second half as Steven Nzonzi was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Jozy Altidore, reducing his side to 10 men. However, the next goalscoring opportunity fell to Stoke and new signing Peter Odemwingie, who nutmegged Wes Brown with a smart turn but hit his shot straight at Mannone.
Odemwingie came even closer with seven minutes remaining, his header crashing off the crossbar and out of play.