LONDON: Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini refused to admit to any outcome but a Manchester United league title success even though the night’s results brought a City win and United defeat.
United lost 1-0 at Wigan for whom Shaun Maloney curled home a superb winner four minutes after half-time to lift them out of the relegation zone in another game marred by controversial decisions.
Victor Moses had a goal disallowed, United were denied a penalty as an eight-match winning run came to an end and even the corner from which the hosts grabbed their first victory in 15 attempts against United was questionable.
City took full advantage of United’s unexpected slip, Carlos Tevez scoring for the first time in 11 months in a routine 4-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion. Sergio Aguero struck twice and David Silva was on target as City showed why they were once firm favourites for the Premier League crown.
After the game Mancini said: “United are a fantastic team and I don’t think they can lose five points. For us it is important that we finish this good season for us well. This is the best season since 1968 and this is important.
“I fight always, every day, and also my team but now I think it is too late. I think they have fantastic spirit, United. We don’t have the same spirit and for this reason I think this is very difficult.”
Arsenal strengthened their grip on third place – and the automatic Champions League place it brings – with a 3-0 victory over 10-man Wolves. Robin Van Persie scored the opener from a penalty after Wolves’ on-loan defender Sebastien Bassong was sent off for bringing down Theo Walcott, who added a second a minute later.
Yossi Benayoun netted the third after the break, and the Gunners are now five points clear of Newcastle and freefalling Tottenham – and seven clear of Chelsea – with five games to play.
For Wolves, though, relegation looms after a seventh straight defeat left them nine points from safety.
QPR’s survival hopes were given a huge boost as they impressively dispatched Swansea 3-0 at Loftus Road. The Rs were unable to match the visitors’ slick passing game in the opening 45 minutes and were guilty of some poor finishing. However, captain Joey Barton made amends in first-half stoppage time with the opening goal.
Jamie Mackie’s deflected effort doubled QPRs’ advantage 10 minutes after the restart with Akos Buzsaky scoring the last.
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