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Chelsea stays on top of table

City remains three points back with a game in hand

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Published : 2014-02-23 19:14
Updated : 2014-02-23 19:14

LONDON (AP) ― Wins by Chelsea and Manchester City, and a potent attacking display by Arsenal, left the top of the Premier League unchanged Saturday.

Chelsea leads the way after captain John Terry clinched a 1-0 victory over Everton in stoppage time by bundling in from Frank Lampard’s cross, with goalkeeper Tim Howard’s body helping to turn the ball into the net.

Arsenal is just a point behind its London rival as Olivier Giroud scored twice in his return to the starting lineup in a 4-1 victory over struggling Sunderland.

Third-placed City relied on Yaya Toure’s goal to see off former manager Mark Hughes’ Stoke 1-0 to remain three points back with a game in hand.

Champion Manchester United is still 15 points from the top, but moved up to sixth after ending a three-game winless run with a 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace.

Robin van Persie scored a penalty in the 62nd minute before Wayne Rooney ended a near two-month goal drought, the day after signing a new contract through June 2019, by meeting Patrice Evra’s cross with a volley.

Fulham was the only team in the bottom three to get anything out of Saturday’s games, with a 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion, but the London club remains at the bottom of the standings. Cardiff is just a point above Fulham after being crushed 4-0 at Hull, while Sunderland is two points above the Welsh club.

At Upton Park, West Ham’s remarkable run continued as Southampton was beaten 3-1 to make it four successive victories.

Spain

Four days after affirming its European credentials by toppling Manchester City, Barcelona slumped to a stinging 3-1 loss at Real Sociedad to relinquish the provisional Spanish league lead to Real Madrid on Saturday.

Gareth Bale scored a blistering long-range strike to help Madrid brush aside Elche 3-0 at home, and Barcelona was unable to match that with a win. Instead, it was overrun by Sociedad’s dynamic attack led by forwards Antoine Griezmann and Carlos Vela.

Barcelona’s defeat confirmed the change in course in the league title race over the past two months, leaving Madrid in command and waiting to see if Atletico can keep up when it visits Osasuna on Sunday. After starting the season with 13 wins and a draw, Barcelona has dropped points in four of its last seven games.

Barcelona coach Gerard Martino shuffled his lineup from Tuesday’s Champions League victory at City and tried to reinforce his defense by playing with two holding midfielders in Sergio Busquets and Alex Song.

The move backfired when Song scored an own goal in the 32nd minute in the first of several defensive lapses that doomed the defending champions.

Germany

Hamburger SV ended its seven-game losing streak in the Bundesliga by beating Borussia Dortmund 3-0 in new coach Mirko Slomka’s debut.

Hamburg climbed one spot into the relegation playoff place, overtaking Freiburg, which lost 4-2 at home to Augsburg.

Slomka took over last Monday from Bert van Marwijk.

Sandro Wagner scored late for Hertha Berlin to win 2-1 at Stuttgart, which has lost seven in a row. Hoffenheim came from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Borussia Moenchengladbach, and 10-man Nuremberg beat Eintracht Braunschweig 2-1 in a game that featured three missed penalties.

Second-place Bayer Leverkusen’s slump continued in the late game with a 3-1 defeat at Wolfsburg, which stretched its winning run to four games.

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