Published February 04, 2012
LONDON – Manchester City rediscovered its attacking game in the English Premier League on Saturday, beating Fulham 3-0 to maintain its perfect home record and keep Manchester United at arm's length in the title race.
City's 12th straight league victory at Etihad Stadium left the leaders three points ahead of United, which visits fourth-place Chelsea on Sunday.
The most resounding victory came at Emirates Stadium, where Arsenal rebounded from its miserable recent run in the league by hammering Blackburn 7-1. Robin van Persie had a hat trick, raising his season goal total to 22.
Thierry Henry, on loan from New York Red Bulls, also scored for Arsene Wenger's team, which climbed above Newcastle and Liverpool into fifth place. It is within two points of Chelsea, which holds the final Champions League qualification spot.
Sergio Aguero converted a penalty kick for his 15th league goal of the season and also set up Edin Dzeko as City battled through heavy snow that afflicted most English games.
Fulham defender Chris Baird scored an own goal to compound the woes for Fulham, which was the first team to take points off City this season.
Elsewhere, Sunderland's impressive run under new manager Martin O'Neill continued with a 1-0 win at Stoke, while Wolverhampton Wanderers rallied for a 2-1 win over Queens Park Rangers to climb out of the relegation zone.
Bolton dropped into the bottom three with a 2-0 loss at Norwich. Swansea came from behind to defeat West Bromwich Albion 2-1, Last-place Wigan drew 1-1 at home to Everton after a mistake by visiting U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Espanyol substitute Juan Albin scored in stoppage time as his team rallied twice to draw 3-3 at Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish league.
Bilbao appeared set to win after Fernando Llorente and Javi Martinez scored headers in the second half, but Albin ran onto Kalu Uche's pass and fired a shot from a tight angle off the crossbar and into the net.
Espanyol had already recovered from Oscar de Marcos' opener for the hosts with goals by Ndri Romaric and Vladimir Weiss on each side of halftime.
Mallorca edged Real Betis 1-0, while Racing Santander drew 1-1 at Levante.
BERLIN (AP) — Schalke missed the chance to join Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga with a 1-1 draw at home to Mainz.
Mohamed Zidan gave Mainz the lead in the 15th minute before Schalke's Chinedu Obasi pulled one back in the 59th.
Borussia Moenchengladbach failed to take advantage and remains a point behind Schalke in fourth after being held to a 0-0 draw at Wolfsburg.
Martin Harnik scored an 89th-minute equalizer for Stuttgart to end its four-game losing steak in a 2-2 draw at Leverkusen. Both sides had a player sent off.
Augsburg drew 2-2 at Hoffenheim, and Hannover won 1-0 at Hertha Berlin, which also had a player sent off.
Defending champion Dortmund put the pressure on its rivals Friday with a 2-0 win at Nuremberg to stretch its unbeaten run to 14 games.
PARIS (AP) — Renaud Cohade and Gael Danic scored as Valenciennes beat Dijon 2-1 in the French league.
Cohade capitalized on a counterattack in the third minute to beat Dijon goalkeeper Baptiste Reynet. Danic doubled the lead with a close-range effort in the 43rd. Gregory Thil scored a consolation goal for Dijon with a header in stoppage time.
Rennes was held to a a scoreless draw at Nancy.
The match between Saint-Etienne and Lorient was suspended after 10 minutes of play because an icy field. A makeup date was not announced.
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — Celtic eased into the quarterfinals of the Scottish Cup, beating Inverness 2-0 in one of four all-Premier League matches in the fifth round.
Georgios Samaras opened the scoring for the holders in the 33rd minute by smashing a shot past Inverness goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey. Scott Brown assured the outcome in the 67th, converting a penalty kick for his third goal in three games.
Rangers, a point behind Celtic at the top of the Premier League, will look to join its Glasgow rival in the draw for the last eight when it hosts Dundee United on Sunday.
Aberdeen needed a 67th-minute goal by Scott Vernon to earn a replay with a 1-1 draw at home to second-tier struggler Queen of the South. Motherwell routed Morton 6-0 while Hibernian edged past fellow Premier League team Kilmarnock 1-0.
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek league leader Panathinaikos lost 1-0 at Levadiakos, giving defending champion Olympiakos a chance to narrow its five-point gap with the Athens club.
Substitute Pashalis Melissas headed past goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis in the 83rd minute, a minute after taking the field.
Giannena won 2-1 in Kerkyra and OFI beat Ergotelis 1-0 in Crete.
Olympiakos travels to Thessaloniki on Sunday to face third-placed PAOK.