By Mike Collett
Arsenal stayed top of the Premier League with Manchester City breathing down their necks as the two front runners maintained their winning streaks with victories over Fulham and Cardiff City on Saturday.
Two goals in five minutes midway through the second half by Spain international midfielder Santi Cazorla set Arsenal up for a 2-0 win over Fulham, their fifth successive league victory leaving Fulham mired in relegation trouble.
Second placed Manchester City made it seven consecutive league wins as they beat Cardiff City 4-2 – also their 11th successive home win in the league – after Edin Dzeko’s opener took them to 100 goals in all competitions this season.
Cardiff, playing their second league game under new boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, equalised through Craig Nooneafter 29 minutes before Jesus Navas restored City’s lead four minutes later.
Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero scored late goals in quick succession to make it 4-1 before Fraizer Campbell scored a consolation for Cardiff.
The Welsh side, back in the top flight for the first time in 51 seasons, dropped to the bottom of the table behind Sunderland on goal difference after they hit back to draw 2-2 with Southampton having trailed 2-0.
Arsenal head the standings with 51 points, followed by City on 50, with third placed Chelsea (46) playing champions Manchester United, who are seventh, at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Newcastle United kept in touch with the leading pack with a 3-1 win at West Ham United, who like their London rivals Fulham are deep in trouble at the wrong end of the table.
Yohan Cabaye and Loic Remy scored to put Newcastle in command while the Hammers pulled one back when Mike Williamson put through his own goal. Cabaye added a late second.
The one bright spot for the Hammers fans was the first home appearance this season of their England striker Andy Carroll, who came on as a second half substitute for only his second game of the season after a long-standing foot injury.
Crystal Palace moved out of the relegation zone when Jason Puncheon scored after 51 minutes to give Palace manager Tony Pulis a 1-0 win over his former club Stoke City.
Norwich City beat Hull City 1-0 at Carrow Road with an 87th minute winner from Ryan Bennett easing them away from trouble.
Hull’s misery was complete when Tom Huddlestone was sent off in the last minute for a second yellow card.
Liverpool were playing Aston Villa in the evening kickoff at Anfield.