By Michael Hann
Manchester City kept their slim title hopes alive thanks to a 3-0 win against 10-man West Bromwich Albion but Arsenal remain hot on their heels after a 2-1 victory against Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday.
Much-maligned after their Champions League exit in Barcelona on Wednesday and a league defeat by Burnley last week, City were helped by a bizarre refereeing decision in the second minute in which West Brom’s Gareth McAuley was sent off instead of Craig Dawson in a case of mistaken identity.
Wilfried Bony, who had been hauled down by Dawson, later scored his first goal for City for whom Fernando and David Silva were also on target to give Manuel Pellegrini victory in his 100th game in charge of the club.
Second-placed City have 61 points from 30 matches, three behind leaders Chelsea, who have a two games in hand over their title rivals and play Hull City on Sunday.
“I think it was a very good performance,” Pellegrini told BT Sport. “Today we were very concentrated defensively to not allow them to score and after that we created a lot of chances.
“I think that the only thing we must do is try and win the next game.”
Arsenal, knocked out of the Champions League by AS Monaco on Tuesday, remain one-point behind City, however, after victory against Newcastle at St James’ Park means the Gunners have now won their last six league matches.
Olivier Giroud struck twice in four minutes in the first half but they spent much of the second half on the backfoot after Moussa Sissoko pulled a goal back for Newcastle.
“We started well, on the front foot, we put the pace we wanted to into the game,” Giroud told BBC Sport. “The problem in the second half was we didn’t play, I don’t know why.
“It was a tough game but it is a really important win. Even though we are disappointed with the Champions League exit, we want to fight on until the end of the season.”
Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane celebrated his first senior England call up with a hat-trick as Spurs beat bottom side Leicester City 4-3 in a thrilling match at White Hart Lane.
Kane scored twice in the opening 13 minutes to give Spurs a two-goal advantage but goals from Jamie Vardy and Wes Morgan drew the visitors level.
Leicester striker David Nugent conceded a penalty that Kane converted before Jeff Schlupp scored an own goal. Nugent set up a nervy finish with a late consolation.
Sixth-placed Southampton stay above Spurs on goal difference after their 2-0 win at St Mary’s against struggling Burnley who remain in the bottom three.
Crystal Palace came from a goal down to beat Stoke City 2-1 at the Britannia Stadium, while Aston Villa’s recent resurgence came to end with a 1-0 home defeat against Swansea City.
New Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat takes his struggling side to West Ham United later on Saturday.