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Bramble own goal sees Sunderland fall to United

Manchester United took another big step toward securing the Premier League title on Saturday, grinding out a 1-0 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

The lone strike came in the 27th minute by way of a Titus Bramble own goal and United staved off some second-half pressure from the Black Cats to claim the win and move to 77 points for the season.

Sunderland, winless in its last eight Premier League contests, remains in a battle against relegation. Martin O'Neill's side has claimed 31 points in as many matches, sitting just one point clear of the drop zone.

The lone goal came thanks to some slack defending from the Sunderland defense and a fortuitous deflection from Bramble. Robin van Persie collected possession on the left flank and was afforded the space to drift into the penalty area. The Dutchman cut the ball onto his left foot and unleashed a shot that took a small deflection off of Phil Bardsley but received an even bigger diversion from Bramble, whose attempted clearance ended up in the far corner.

Sunderland had the better of play in the second half but failed to create any clear-cut scoring chances. Its only shot on target came on the stroke of full time when Connor Wickham fired a low shot toward the near post, but David De Gea collected the attempt with ease to preserve United's sixth successive clean sheet in league play.

Manchester City 4, Newcastle 0

Manchester, England - Manchester City kept its title hopes alive by cruising to a 4-0 defeat of Newcastle at the Etihad on Saturday.

The Magpies held the Citizens off the scoreboard until the final four minutes of the opening period when goals from Carlos Tevez and David Silva put the match in City's favor.

The home side continued its dominant display on the opposite side of halftime, extending the lead through Vincent Kompany in the 56th minute and James Perch's own goal in the 69th minute.

City improves to 62 points to remain 15 points back of United. Newcastle has lost two league matches in a row to stay on 33 points.

Arsenal 4, Reading 1

London, England - Arsenal aided its quest for a top-four finish on Saturday, claiming an emphatic 4-1 win over lowly Reading at the Emirates.

Gervinho opened the scoring with the lone goal of the first half, but Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud scored in 48th and 67th minutes, respectively, to put the Gunners firmly in the driver's seat.

Hal Robson-Kanu scored in the 68th minute to ruin Arsenal's bid for a clean sheet, but Mikel Arteta converted a penalty in the 77th to restore his side's three-goal advantage.

Arsenal, on 53 points, moves to within two points of fourth-place Chelsea, while Reading slips to the foot of the table with just 23 points.

Southampton 2, Chelsea 1

Southampton, England - Southampton continued its march up the Premier League table by downing Chelsea, 2-1, at St. Mary's on Saturday.

Jay Rodriguez capped a well-worked move in the 23rd minute to put the Saints in front. John Terry equalized when he headed home a corner kick in the 33rd minute, but Rickie Lambert sealed all three points for the home side two minutes later when he curled an inch-perfect free kick into the back of the net.

The win sees Southampton move up to 13th place as its 34 points leave the club comfortably above the relegation zone. Chelsea drops to fourth place by staying on 55 points.

Tottenham 2, Swansea City 1

Swansea, Wales - Tottenham snapped a two-game slide in Premier League action by picking up a 2-1 victory over Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

Spurs grabbed control of the match with two goals in the opening 21 minutes. Jan Vertonghen opened the scoring with a brilliant bit of skill in the seventh minute, while Gareth Bale continued his sensational season by doubling the advantage with a quick shot off of his first touch from the top of the box.

Michu pulled one back for Swansea in the 71st minute, but it was not enough to prevent Tottenham from climbing 57 points and third place in England's top flight. The Swans, who have lost three league games running, remain on 40 points.

Everton 1, Stoke City 0

Liverpool, England - Kevin Mirallas handed Everton a third straight league win on Saturday, scoring the lone goal in the club's 1-0 defeat of Stoke City at Goodison Park.

Mirallas provided the breakthrough in the 28th minute as his lengthy run through the Potters defense proved to be all Everton would need to climb to 51 points and remain in the race for fourth place.

Stoke, winless in its last five outings, stays on 34 points.

Wigan 1, Norwich City 0

Wigan, England - Roberto Martinez is living up to his "survival artist" moniker as his Wigan side climbed out of the relegation zone thanks to a 1-0 defeat of Norwich City on Saturday.

The Latics were made to wait until the 81st minute for the goal as Around Kone broke free and fired a powerful shot into the back of the net.

It was enough to see Wigan claim a second consecutive league win to improve to 30 points, jumping out of the danger area on goal differential. Norwich, winless in its last four Premier League outings, stays put on 34 points.

West Ham 3, West Bromwich 1

London, England - Andy Carroll bagged a brace to help West Ham earn a 3-1 win over West Bromwich on Saturday.

Carroll opened the scoring in the 16th minute before Gary O'Neil doubled the advantage 12 minutes later. West Ham sealed the win 10 minutes from time when Carroll completed his brace, but the clean sheet was spoiled late on as Graham Dorrans converted a penalty kick.

West Ham climbs to 36 points for the season, eight points shy of West Brom.