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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

City beat Liverpool, Arsenal go top

Manchester City moved up to second in the Premier League table with a 2-1 win over title rivals Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium.

Alvaro Negredo was on target to make it 2-1 to Manchester City.
Negredo netted the winning goal as Manchester City overcame Liverpool.

Rodgers blasts refereeing

City signalled their intent inside five minutes when Jesus Navas hit the post with a header after a tremendous, whipped cross from Aleksandar Kolarov.

But it was Liverpool who took the lead on 24 minutes when Jordan Henderson found Luis Suarez, whose neat flick dropped kindly for Raheem Sterling. The 19-year-old rounded Joe Hart, but his touch was heavy and it was left for Philippe Coutinho to slot home from a tight angle.

The lead lasted just six minutes, as Vincent Kompany beat Martin Skrtel to David Silva's corner and the Belgian defender's header crept past Simon Mignolet and Joe Allen on the line.

Kompany's goal was his second in two games having found the net against Fulham in City's 4-2 win on Saturday -- a game in which he also scored an own goal.

The game looked set to be level at the break when Hart made an outstanding reaction stop from Coutinho's close-range effort after slick build-up play involving Suarez and Sterling, while Skrtel's last-ditch tackle denied Alvaro Negredo at the end.

But Negredo beat Mignolet with the last kick of the first half when his effort from 20 yards was flapped at by the Liverpool goalkeeper, who will not want to see that goal again.

Liverpool should have equalised midway through the second half, but Sterling blazed over from point-blank range with the goal at his mercy after excellent work from Suarez down the left-hand side.

Theo Walcott's double helped see Arsenal return to winning ways as they came from behind to beat West Ham 3-1 in the Premier League at Upton Park.

Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott helped Arsenal recover against West Ham.
Walcott scored twice as Arsenal rallied at Upton Park.

Tyler: Boxing Day talking points

Arsenal spurned several good chances in the first half with Walcott volleying wide when put through one-on-one with Adrian by Aaron Ramsey.

Carlton Cole then punished Arsenal's profligacy a minute after the break, pouncing to slot home from six yards after Wojciech Szczesny parried Kevin Nolan's shot straight into his path.

Adrian made a fantastic double save on the hour to keep West Ham in front, stopping Santi Cazorla's long-range effort and then blocking Mesut Ozil's follow-up with his feet.

Things were going from bad to worse for Arsenal with Ramsey limping off the pitch having damaged a thigh muscle. Lukas Podolski came on to replace him, making his first appearance in four months.

However, Adrian then undid his earlier good work by allowing Walcott's tame effort from the edge of the box to squirm through his hands and into the net on 68 minutes.

Three minutes later Walcott put Arsenal in front, grabbing his first headed league goal from Podolski's cross after it had been deflected into his path by James Tomkins.

Podolski's cameo role continued as he smashed home Arsenal's third from just outside the box 11 minutes from time after good hold-up play by Olivier Giroud.

Manchester United came back from two goals down to defeat a spirited Hull 3-2 at the KC Stadium, with former Red Devil James Chester deciding things with a second-half own-goal.

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Chester, a one-time United trainee, had opened the scoring with a close-range finish in the fourth minute and, after heading in at the wrong end, had a glorious chance to finish it in injury time only for David De Gea to make the save.

David Meyler doubled Hull's advantage thanks to a heavy Jonny Evans deflection but United rallied swiftly from their calamitous start and were level by the 25th minute as Chris Smalling's header and Wayne Rooney's stunning volley found the target.

Hull enjoyed the best of the play at 2-2 but, after Alex Bruce's header hit the woodwork, Chester turned Ashley Young's cross into his own net.

Danny Graham spurned a fine chance to equalise in the 87th minute, with Chester also going close at the death after Antonio Valencia picked up a late red card.

Eden Hazard was the match-winner as Chelsea edged Swansea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea took the lead on 28 minutes when Ashley Cole, making his first Premier League start since Nov. 2 when the Blues lost 2-0 at Newcastle, played a neat through ball for the Belgian, who cut inside from the left and fired past Gerhard Tremmel.

It was a nervy affair that Chelsea will feel they should have won by more, having had 19 shots at goal.

Tim Sherwood had to settle for a draw on his first game as permanent manager of Tottenham as they were held at home by managerless West Brom.

Jonas Olsson equalised for West Brom just before half time.
Olsson denied Tottenham a home win on Boxing day.

Christian Eriksen put Tottenham ahead on 36 minutes with a blistering free kick that bounced off the bar, off the line then off the bar again before crossing the line. However, the lead lasted just two minutes as Spurs failed to deal with a free kick, Emmanuel Adebayor swinging over the cross and Jonas Olsson prodding the ball over the dive of Hugo Lloris inside the six-yard box.

The closest Tottenham came to regaining the lead in the second half was a Kyle Walker hit from an indirect free kick that Ben Foster pushed away.

An implosion from Stoke City at St James' Park enabled Newcastle to come from behind in emphatic fashion with a 5-1 victory.

The day had started badly for Newcastle as Liverpool loanee Oussama Assaidi had put Stoke ahead in the north-east, before a bizarre sequence of events destroyed their hopes. First Glenn Whelan was sent off for chopping down Yohan Cabaye, his second bookable offence.

Manager Mark Hughes exploded on the sidelines and was sent to the stand, and his mood would only get darker as Marc Wilson was next to get sent off as he brought down Loic Remy in the area. The Frenchman then saw his weak penalty saved by Thomas Sorensen, however Stoke's lead lasted only a few moments more, and it was Remy who finally converted when set up by Hatem Ben Arfa, albeit with the aid of a deflection.

It took just three minutes of the second half for Newcastle to take the lead. Ben Arfa provided the cross, Sorensen managed to get a fist to it but only as far as Yoann Gouffran who drove the ball home. Remy then claimed his second of the match on 56 minutes as Newcastle began to overwhelm their short-handed opponents, and Cabaye made it 4-1 with a beautifully placed shot from 20 yards.

The torment was not over for the visitors, however, as Ben Arfa was tripped in the box by Erik Pieters for another penalty on 79 minutes, with Papiss Cisse making no mistake from the spot.

Ki Sung-Yueng went down under the challenge of Tim Howard, who received a red card.
Tim Howard's red card paved the way for a Sunderland triumph.

Everton suffered a setback as they fell to a 1-0 defeat by Sunderland at Goodison Park, although they remain ahead of Newcastle in fifth spot in the Premier League.

The match turned on a 25th minute moment to forget for Everton. Leon Osman was short with a backpass, and Ki Sung-Yeung beat Howard to the ball before being tripped by the goalkeeper. A red card was produced, and Ki then converted the penalty past substitute keeper Joel Robles. That was enough for Sunderland to earn just their third league win of the season.

A first-half blitz from Southampton ensured they took all three points from their trip to Cardiff . The visitors took the lead after 14 minutes, when Adam Lallana sprung the offside trap and his low cross picked out Rodriguez to score. Rodriguez had his second six minutes later when he volleyed in Rickie Lambert's pass, and the match was effectively over when Lambert made it 3-0 on 27 minutes. However, they remain ninth in the table.

Rene Meulensteen enjoyed just his second win as manager of Fulham as they came from behind to defeat Norwich 2-1 at Carrow Road. Gary Hooper put the hosts ahead on 13 minutes thanks to a heavy deflection off Aaron Hughes to extend his home scoring streak to four consecutive matches.

Scott Parker had ball in the net shortly after following a charge down of a clearance but was penalised for handball, but within minutes Pajtim Kasami had levelled the scores. It looked set to end 1-1 all the way up to the 87th minute, when Parker drilled home from 25 yards to snatch all three points for the visitors.

It looked all but certain that there would be no goals in the match at Villa Park between Aston Villa and Crystal Palace, until Dwight Gayle struck in the 90th minute with a great strike from the edge of the area. It means Palace move out of the bottom three, with West Ham falling to second bottom after their defeat at home to Arsenal.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.


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