x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Premier League round-up: Silva shines, but Milan make move for Balotelli

Reading comeback against Newcastle, Loic Remy scores on West Ham United debut and West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa share the spoils in Midlands derby.

David Silva either side of half time for Manchester City against Fulham. Michael Regan / Getty Images
David Silva either side of half time for Manchester City against Fulham. Michael Regan / Getty Images

Manchester City 2 (David Silva 02', 69') Fulham 0

David Silva struck in each half as champions Manchester City cut Manchester United's lead at the top of the Premier League to four points.

The Spaniard fired home a rebound from a 25-yard Edin Dzeko shot after just two minutes, and then struck a sublime second with a dinked finish over the goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer in the 69th minute as City enjoyed comfortable win over Fulham at the Etihad Stadium.

Steve Sidwell hit the post for the visitors in the 31st minute and City lost Pablo Zabaleta to injury before Silva added his second, gathering a Carlos Tevez flick.

Dzeko should have scored a third in injury time but somehow scooped over from six yards with the goal at his mercy.

"We made plans and train to do whatever we want, but to concede in the second minute is a horrific scenario," said Martin Jol, the Fulham manager .

"At 1-0 down it could have been a horrible day," .

"After they scored we did better, but the final ball wasn't great. If you want something here at Man City you need a bit of luck and quality, but we couldn't find that special moment. That was disappointing.

"We could have hurt them because they didn't score their second until the 70th minute and this wasn't Man City at their best."

City will hope the victory puts pressure back on United ahead of their tricky trip to Tottenham Hotspur today.

"All we can do is win our games," 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.

"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."

Roberto Mancini's men looked confident from the outset against a side that had won just two of their previous 14 league games.

Later yesterday Adriano Galliani, the AC Milan vice president, said they are interested in signing Mario Balotelli, but only if City drop their asking price for the Italy striker.

Balotelli, who is a Milan fan, has long been linked with a return to Italy, where he progressed through the ranks at Inter Milan before joining City in 2010.

Galliani said: "At the end of Friday Manchester City was still saying €37 million (Dh181m), we'll see on Monday. At that price, Balotelli will stay at Manchester City."

Newcastle 1 (Cabaye 35’) Reading 2 Le Fondre 71’, 77’

Adam Le Fondre came off the bench to dump Newcastle deep into relegation trouble as Reading staged another famous fightback. The substitute struck twice inside six second-half minutes as the Magpies imploded having dominated the opening period. Alan Pardew’s men would have been out of sight by half-time if not for the Reading keeper Adam Federici, but led only 1-0 courtesy of Yohan Cabaye’s 35th-minute free kick.

Swansea 3 (Davies 49’, De Guzman 57’, 80’) Stoke 1 Owen 90’

Jonathan de Guzman netted a second half double as Swansea warmed up for their midweek cup date against Chelsea with victory over Stoke at the Liberty Stadium.

After a sluggish, scoreless first half, Ben Davies gave the hosts the lead shortly after the break with his first senior goal and De Guzman grabbed a brace before Michael Owen got a late consolation with his first goal for Stoke.

West Ham 1 (Cole 68’) QPR 1 Remy 14’

Loic Remy took only 14 minutes of his QPR debut to find the net but it was not enough to give the Premier League’s bottom side victory against West Ham. Rangers are unbeaten in January and were on course for another victory at half-time courtesy of Remy’s cool finish. But Joe Cole made it 1-1 in the 68th minute with the first strike of his second stint at the club – his first goal for the Hammers since January 2003.

Wigan 2 (Vaughan (og) 04’, Henriquez 79’) Sunderland 3 (Gardner 17’, Fletcher 20’, 42’)

Martin O’Neill’s men looked to be cruising at the break after they had replied to David Vaughan’s own goal with a Craig Gardner penalty and Steven Fletcher’s double. But after on-loan Manchester United man Angelo Henriquez netted 11 minutes from time, Sunderland needed to show  defensive resolve, sending Wigan sliding back into the relegation zone.

West Brom 2 Brunt 49', Odemwingie 83' Aston Villa 2 Benteke 12', Agbonlahor 31'

In a match that fulfilled the cliche of a game of two halves the points were shared in this Midlands derby. Aston Villa had looked the stronger side in the first half, going in two goals up. But after the break West Brom pulled a goal back after four minutes and took control of the match. The equaliser seemed inevitable, and both sides pushed for a winner in the frantic final minutes.