Silva keeps Man City challenge alive with two goals vs Fulham
Victory puts City within four points of United before league leaders travel to Tottenham
Manchester City beat Fulham 2-0 yesterday to close the gap on Manchester United to four points though the Premier League leaders could reestablish their seven-point advantage when they play Tottenham later today.
David Silva did the damage for the Sky Blues, scoring both their goals in an efficient if not particularly entertaining victory. Silva's first came after just 95 seconds but hopes of a goalfest to warm the cockles of the City faithful on a raw winter's day failed to materialise.
Though the visitors rarely threatened to score, they restricted City to just one second-half goal, on 69 minutes, when Silva combined with Carlos Tevez and Gael Clichy to beat Mark Schwarzer in the Fulham goal.
"We have to make sure we keep getting victories so if United do slip up we are in a position to take advantage of that," said David Platt, City's assistant manager. "We have got 15 left and Man United have got 16 left and I am sure both teams will drop points between now and the end of the season."
Liverpool thrashed Norwich 5-0 at Anfield and Daniel Sturridge continued his prolific form since arriving from Chelsea earlier this month. The England striker has scored in all three appearances for the Reds and he told Sky Sports after Saturday's resounding victory: "I want to thank God for the opportunity and making me put on a Liverpool shirt, without him this wouldn't be possible."
Sturridge also praised Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers for rescuing his career, and then added: "It's a world-class club. I have world-class players with me like Luis Suarez, Steven Gerrard... in terms of me being here at this club, it's great."
Suarez and Gerrard also scored in the 5-0 win, as did Jordan Henderson, while an own goal from Ryan Bennett capped off a miserable day for the Canaries on Merseyside. The win lifts the Reds into seventh spot, level on points with Arsenal in sixth, who play Chelsea today.
In other results, the pressure increased on Newcastle manager Alan Pardew as his side lost at home to Reading. The 2-1 defeat leaves the Magpies in 16th position, perilously close to a relegation zone that Reading are nearly out of after three wins from their last four matches.
Yohan Cabaye's free-kick had given Newcastle a first-half lead but two goals from Reading substitute Adam Le Fondre secured a vital three points for the Royals. "That was a tough defeat for us," conceded Pardew. "Perhaps because we have not won for a while, the pressure was on us. We weren't used to it, we were tentative and it put us on the back foot... we need to strengthen the squad, no doubt about it."
The London Derby between West Ham and Queens Park Rangers finished all-square as Harry Redknapp's side continued their rejuvenation. Rangers remain unbeaten in 2013 and new signing Loic Remy had a dream start when he put them ahead 13 minutes into his debut. But Joe Cole levelled for the Hammers on 68 minutes and that's how it finished.
"The players have been excellent we have been on a good little run," said Redknapp, whose side remain bottom but are now just four points behind Wigan and Reading. "We just want to keep that going and keep improving. We are still there but we are in much better shape that we were six or seven weeks ago. There will be teams looking over their shoulder."
In other results, Wigan lost 3-2 at home to Sunderland, Swansea beat Stoke 3-1, and West Bromwich Albion missed the opportunity to move above Arsenal into sixth position as they were held 2-2 at home to Aston Villa. At one stage Villa were leading 2-0 but the Baggies fought back in the second half with goals from Chris Brunt and Peter Odemwingie.