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Arsenal crushed by City to throw open title race

December 14, 2013

LONDON (AP) — Arsenal felt the full force of Manchester City’s rampant attack in a wild 6-3 loss in the Premier League on Saturday, cutting its lead to two points and throwing the title race wide open.

Chelsea pounced on Arsenal’s implosion at Etihad Stadium by edging past Crystal Palace 2-1 at home, with Ramires scoring the winner to lift Jose Mourinho’s team provisionally into second place.

But approaching the halfway stage of the season, City is likely to be most people’s favorite for the title after following up big home wins over Manchester United and Tottenham already this season with another masterful attacking display against Arsenal.

What had been the tightest defense in the league was ripped apart, with City’s eighth straight home win sealed by two goals from Fernandinho and others by Sergio Aguero, Alvaro Negredo, David Silva and Yaya Toure.

City enhanced its tag as the Premier League’s entertainers — it has scored 35 goals in eight home matches, including six past Spurs and four past United — and is a point adrift of Chelsea in third.

“It was a very complete game in attacking,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini said. “It is not easy to score six goals against Arsenal, the best defense in the Premier League.”

Everton brushed past Fulham 4-1 with three late goals to jump to fourth, while Newcastle drew 1-1 with Southampton in a match that saw the referee receive a bloody nose after accidentally colliding with a player and ended in a scuffle between the two benches.

Cardiff beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0, and there were 0-0 draws between West Ham-Sunderland and Hull-Stoke.


BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Real Madrid fought back to draw 2-2 at Osasuna in the Spanish league on Saturday, but still left its title rivals the chance to widen the gap at the top of the standings.

Osasuna’s Oriol Riera headed in goals in the 16th and 39th minutes before Madrid’s woes deepened when Sergio Ramos received his second yellow card in the 44th.

With Cristiano Ronaldo unable to extend his eight-game scoring run for club and country, midfielder Isco Alarcon pulled one back before halftime and passed for Pepe to head home the 80th-minute equalizer seconds after Osasuna’s Francisco Silva also earned his second booking.

Co-leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have a two-point advantage over Madrid. Barcelona hosted Villarreal late Saturday and Atletico hosts Valencia on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Granada moved into the upper half of the standings by prevailing 2-0 at 10-man Rayo Vallecano in an error-plagued match. Malaga hosts Getafe later Saturday.


BERLIN (AP) — Unbeaten Bayern Munich defeated visiting Hamburger SV 3-1 for the Bundesliga’s unofficial title of “autumn champion” on Saturday, while Borussia Dortmund could only draw 2-2 at Hoffenheim.

Goals from Mario Mandzukic in the 42nd minute and Mario Goetze 10 minutes later put Bayern in a comfortable position before Hamburg striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga scored with three minutes remaining.

Xherdan Shaqiri scored in injury time to ensure Bayern won its 950th Bundesliga game and its last of the year. The side will next appear in the Club World Club semifinals in Morocco.

Dortmund came from two goals down at Hoffenheim, but missed a host of chances as it fell 12 points off the pace.

Also, Hannover came from three goals down to draw 3-3 with Nuremberg, Augsburg defeated Eintracht Braunschweig 4-1 and Borussia Moenchengladbach’s six-game winning streak came to an end in a 0-0 draw at Mainz.

Wolfsburg hosted Stuttgart late Saturday.


RENNES, France (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain bounced back from a poor run of form by defeating Rennes 3-1 to consolidate its top spot in the French league on Saturday.

Thiago Motta curled a shot into the bottom corner to open the scoring in the 19th minute and Zlatan Ibrahimovic got his 14th league goal by converting a penalty in the 52nd.

Rennes winger Romain Alessandrini replied with a powerful free kick in the 67th but Edinson Cavani sealed the win by finishing off a counterattack in stoppage time.

PSG was under pressure after losing two of its three previous matches in all competitions.

Later Saturday, it’s: Ajaccio vs. Lorient; Evian vs. Reims; Guingamp vs. Monaco; Nantes vs. Toulouse; and Nice vs. Sochaux. On Friday, Saint-Etienne beat Montpellier 1-0.


GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Celtic bounced back from its 6-1 thrashing by Barcelona in the Champions League in midweek by beating Hibernian 1-0 on Saturday to maintain its seven-point lead in the Scottish Premiership.

Teemu Pukki scored the only goal in the 29th minute to keep the reigning champions undefeated after 15 games of their title defense.

The closest Hibs came to an equalizer was when Liam Craig hit a shot against the post.

Inverness stayed second with a 2-0 win at bottom side Hearts, secured by goals by Billy McKay that took his tally to 15 for the season.

Dundee United and Aberdeen both won to remain level on points in third and fourth, respectively.

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