City on top with controversial victory

Pellegrini's men post 2-0 verdict over Newcastle; Manchester United find winning touch

City on top with controversial victory

Manchester City went top of the Premier League after securing a controversial 2-0 win at Newcastle United on Sunday with an early Edin Dzeko goal and a stoppage time effort from Alvaro Negredo.

Liverpool also won away with an astonishing 5-3 victory at Stoke City after the home side battled back from a two-goal deficit to level the match at 2-2 by halftime. 

The results lifted City to the top of the Premier League on 47 points, one ahead of Chelsea and two clear of Arsenal, who will return to the summit if they win at Aston Villa on Monday.

Liverpool climbed above Everton and Tottenham Hotspur into fourth place on 42 points.

Newcastle were incensed that a stunning volley from Cheick Tiote was disallowed by referee Mike Jones after 34 minutes when the hosts were trailing 1-0.

Tiote smashed the ball home with a swerving 20-metre left-foot shot, but, as the Newcastle players were celebrating, the referee consulted with his linesman and disallowed the goal.

They decided that Yoan Gouffran, who was standing in an offside position three yards from goal, was interfering with play and blocking goalkeeper Joe Hart's line of vision.

Dzeko swept City into the lead after eight minutes, timing his run perfectly to meet a cross from Aleksandr Kolarov to plant the ball past Tim Krul.

Their second came in the final seconds when Negredo beat the offside trap and scored at the second attempt after his first effort was blocked by Krul for City's 94th goal of the season in all competitions.

The one blot for City was seeing Frenchman Samir Nasri carried off on a stretcher in the later stages with what appeared to be a serious knee knjury after a clattering from defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa who was booked for the challenge.

An eight-goal thriller at Stoke ended with Liverpool winning with two goals from Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez, the top scorer in the Premier League this season who took his tally to 22 goals.

An own goal from Ryan Shawcross, a penalty from Steven Gerrard on his 650th Liverpool appearance and a fine individual goal from substitute Daniel Sturridge on his return from injury completed Liverpool's scoring.

Stoke's goals came from former Liverpool duo Peter Crouch and Charlie Adam, and Jon Walters.

Relief for United 

Manchester United returned to winning ways after three straight defeats with a 2-0 Premier League home victory over Swansea City on Saturday, avenging last week's FA Cup loss to the Welsh club.

Without strikers Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, United laboured before half-time but Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck scored early in the second half to calm any jitters. United remained in seventh place with 37 points from 21 games.

Victory was a relief for manager David Moyes, who has come under intense scrutiny after a woeful start to the year which has included a league defeat by Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford, the FA Cup home reverse to Swansea and a midweek loss at Sunderland in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final. However, Moyes will come under even more pressure next week as his side faces Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea in what promises to be an intriguing clash.

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