LONDON: Manchester City stated their case as potential Premier League winners by ripping Arsenal to shreds by 6-3.
The prolific strikeforce of Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo were again on target while Fernandinho struck twice and David Silva and Yaya Toure also got on the scoresheet.
Theo Walcott marked his first start since September with two fine goals to keep Arsenal in contention but Per Mertesacker’s late header was mere consolation for a side ultimately well beaten. A fall-out at the final whistle between Mertesacher and fellow German Mesut Ozil illustrated Arsenal’s confusion.
City, who have now scored 35 goals in their eight home games this season, moved within three points of the Gunners with the only setback being the loss of Aguero early in the second half with a calf injury.
Chelsea remain ahead of City in second after beating Crystal Palace 2-1.
Jose Mourinho’s side saw off relegation battlers Palace at Stamford Bridge, thanks to goals from Fernando Torres and Ramires.
Tony Pulis’s gritty Palace side made Chelsea work hard for a 2-1 half-time lead, Marouane Chamakh even drawing the visitors level with his third goal in his last three league appearances.
The Blues were put under further pressure after the break but dug in to record their fourth win in five league matches.
Seamus Coleman’s third Premier League goal of the season secured a 4-1 victory for Everton against Fulham and moved the Toffees up to fourth.
Dimitar Berbatov converted his second penalty in as many league matches to draw Fulham level at 1-1 following Leon Osman’s opener in the first half. But defender Coleman’s finish, a Gareth Barry header and a late Kevin Mirallas goal helped Everton pull off an impressive win.
Cardiff broke their three-and-a-half match goal duck when Peter Whittingham headed Craig Noone’s cross home in the Welsh side’s home clash with West Brom.
After a goalless first half, Malky Mackay’s side netted to win 1-0 and bag their first league sucess in six matches.
Jay Rodriguez’s second-half equaliser saw Southampton scramble a 1-1 draw against Newcastle at St James’ Park. Yoan Gouffran had earlier finished well for his sixth goal of the season after Mike Williamson’s header to hand Newcastle a 1-0 half-time lead.
Guy Demel had the ball in the back of the net for West Ham against Sunderland – but referee Andre Marriner ruled it out for a foul on Lee Cattermole and the match ended in a goalless draw which is little help to either team.