By Josh Reich
A two-goal sucker punch moments before halftime helped Manchester City crush Southampton 4-1 on Saturday to keep up the pressure at the top of the Premier League table.
A Rickie Lambert penalty cancelled out Yaya Toure’s early goal from the spot, but strikes by Samir Nasriand Edin Dzeko put the 2012 champions 3-1 ahead at the interval, an advantage they extended through Stevan Jovetic nine minutes from time.
City climbed to second place with 70 points, one behind Liverpool who play West Ham United on Sunday.
Chelsea, with 69 points, can move past them both if they beat Stoke City later on Saturday. City have a match in hand on both fellow title chasers.
The result was harsh on eighth-placed Southampton who were threatening going forward before they conceded the two quick goals after leading scorer Jay Rodriguez fell awkwardly, forcing him off on a stretcher and putting his outside hopes of making England World Cup squad in doubt.
Manchester United moved up to sixth with an emphatic 4-0 win at Newcastle United, Juan Mata scoring twice and Javier Hernandez and Adnan Januzaj adding one each. Fulham moved off the foot of the table with a 2-1 win at Aston Villa.
Kieran Richardson’s stunning goal was cancelled out by Grant Holt, before Hugo Rodallega snatched a vital three points which allowed Fulham to take advantage of Cardiff’s 3-0 home loss to Crystal Palace.
Jason Puncheon’s two goals and Joe Ledley ensured Cardiff’s miserable run under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continued and Fulham moves above Cardiff and Sunderland on to 27 points.
Cardiff are 19th on 26 with Sunderland, who play Tottenham Hotspur on Monday, a further point back but with three matches in hand.
West Bromwich Albion, who finally appear to have hit form under Pepe Mel, beat Norwich City 1-0 and George Boyd’s goal gave Hull City a 1-0 victory over Swansea City.