City near summit as Pardew enjoys flying start
London: Manchester City moved up to second place in the Premier League with a 3-1 victory at West Ham as Newcastle beat Liverpool by the same score to get new manager Alan Pardew`s reign off to a dream start.
Strikes from Yaya Toure, Adam Johnson and a Robert Green own goal secured three precious points for City yesterday, who now trail Arsenal by goal difference ahead of the Gunners` visit to Manchester United on Monday.
Toure opened the scoring after 30 minutes, the Ivory Coast midfielder combining with England international Gareth Barry to rifle an unstoppable shot past Hammers keeper Green.
Toure was responsible for City`s second goal on 73 minutes, surging into the West Ham penalty box and firing a low shot which cannoned off the post and into the net off the desperately unlucky Green`s back.
Johnson -- who had came on as a substitute to replace Mario Balotelli after the volatile Italian striker earned a booking for dissent -- completed the scoring with a well-taken effort on 81 minutes.
West Ham defender James Tomkins scored a late consolation for West Ham, heading in from a corner on 89 minutes. The defeat left the Hammers bottom on goal difference, four points adrift of safety.
Manchester City assistant manager Brian Kidd said the result was a testimony to the work of boss Roberto Mancini, comparing the Italian to his former mentor at Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson.
"The work the manager puts in on the training ground is immense. Tactically, technically, he deserves it," Kidd told Sky Sports television.
"I was privileged to work with Sir Alex at Manchester United and I see so many traits in the boss. He`s a fantastic manager," Kidd said.
Reigning champions Chelsea will reclaim top spot if they beat Tottenham in their visit to White Hart Lane today.
In yesterday`s late match, Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton and Andy Carroll scored in the last 10 minutes as the Magpies beat Liverpool 3-1 to the delight of Pardew, controversially appointed as successor to the sacked Chris
Hughton earlier this week.
Barton scrambled in an 80th minute effort to give Newcastle a 2-1 lead before Carroll launched a 25-yard exocet to make the game safe.
The goals shattered Liverpool, who had fought their way back into the game with a Dirk Kuyt equaliser after Newcastle skipper Kevin Nolan had given the home side the lead on 15 minutes.
"It`s been a long two or three days," said Pardew. "It was a great victory and not many teams can score three against Liverpool.
"The result is important because that`s the business we`re in. There`s a lot of pressure on myself and the players made it easy."
Elsewhere yesterday, goals were thin on the ground with Everton being held to a goal-less draw against Wigan at Goodison as Fulham and Sunderland finished 0-0 at Craven Cottage.
Everton manager David Moyes couldn`t hide his disappointment as Everton`s win-less streak was extended to seven matches.
"We made a few chances but we didn`t have the ability to finish them. It`s been the story of our season," said Moyes.
At Villa Park goals from Stewart Downing and Emile Heskey eased the pressure on Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier as the Birmingham club snatched a nervy 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion.
Houllier had angered Villa fans with his behaviour during Villa`s abject 3-0 defeat at Liverpool on Monday, which led to the Frenchman issuing an apology to supporters ahead of their meeting with the Baggies.
However Downing set Villa on the way to ending their four-match losing streak in all competitions when he got on the end of a Marc Albrighton cross to open the scoring on 25 minutes.
Veteran striker Heskey, playing his first match since October after undergoing surgery on an injured knee ligament, made sure of the points for Villa on 80 minutes.
Promoted Blackpool meanwhile maintained their proud away record with a 1-0 victory over Stoke at the Britannia Stadium which fired the Tangerines into the top half of the table.
Blackpool took the lead through DJ Campbell in the 48th minute after a sweeping counter-attack orchestrated by in-form playmaker Charlie Adam. The win saw Blackpool move up to ninth
with 22 points.