Manchester City stunned by Sunderland, Newcastle sink Spurs
London: Gus Poyet`s struggling Sunderland jolted the Premier League with an electrifying 1-0 win over big-spending Manchester City at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.
On a great afternoon for the reviving giants of north-east football, local rivals Newcastle United won by the same scoreline at Tottenham Hotspur to move into the top half of the league.
The unexpected results were a welcome bonus for leaders Arsenal as the North Londoners prepared for the big match against champions Manchester United and ex-Gunner Robin van Persie at Old Trafford.
Sunderland, second from bottom with just four points from 10 games before Sunday, chalked up a fourth successive 1-0 home win over City thanks to a 21st-minute goal slotted in by Phil Bardsley from the left side of the box.
With Uruguayan manager Poyet pacing around on the touchline as Sunderland faced a late City barrage, the Black Cats held on for their first clean sheet in 15 matches and a stunning win over a side who hammered Norwich City 7-0 last weekend.
"They were outstanding," beamed Poyet, who had defender Wes Brown making his first Premier League start in nearly two years, after his third win in as many home games since replacing sacked Italian Paulo Di Canio.
"We tried to plan the game in three days and tried to convince them it was possible, especially to keep a clean sheet against a top, top team."
City stayed seventh in the league, six points adrift of Arsenal and in danger of being leapfrogged by their Manchester rivals later on Sunday after their fourth defeat in six away games.
"We had several chances at least to draw but we couldn`t do it," City manager Manuel Pellegrini told Sky Sports. "If I think what would I change, I think nothing. We are really playing well...".
Arsenal will stay top whatever happens in the late kickoff, with Arsene Wenger`s men on 25 points and with a game in hand over second-placed Liverpool (on 23) who thrashed Fulham 4-0 on Saturday.
Newcastle United goalkeeper Tim Krul performed the heroics with 14 saves at White Hart Lane to deny Tottenham a chance to move level with Liverpool.
"I`m delighted, I`m over the moon...this is a highlight of my career," grinned the flying Dutchman who was man of the match after making more saves than any Premier League goalkeeper in a match this season.
"These kind of games don`t happen very often. Three points away at Tottenham is a fantastic result."
The focus was on both goalkeepers from the start, with Hugo Lloris left out of the Tottenham squad on medical advice after the French international had been knocked unconscious at Everton last week.
The 42-year-old Brad Friedel had to make a couple of saves early on but was powerless to prevent the livewire Loic Remy firing Newcastle in front after 13 minutes on a crisp but sunny afternoon.
The Frenchman picked up a beautifully-measured pass from Yoan Gouffran to beat the offside trap, dart around the goalkeeper and stab home for his seventh league goal of the season.
Shola Ameobi could have made it 2-0 when he had the ball in the net after 38 minutes but was ruled offside while Krul had earlier made a flying save to keep out a goal-bound Roberto Soldado header.
Krul said that first crucial save was probably the best, with the sun low in the sky and making it hard to see clearly.
He made a string of stops after the break as well, including somehow getting his hand to a deflected free kick by Gylfi Sigurdsson, with the rebound scrambled off the line by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa.
Using hands, arms, body and legs to keep the clean sheet, Krul`s was without question the performance of the afternoon as Newcastle went ninth with 17 points from 11 games.