City tops Blackburn to extend lead

Manchester City applied some more 0 home win over Blackburn at the Etihad on Saturday.

Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero, and Edin Dzeko all scored to help the Citizens take three points and extend their lead over Manchester United and Tottenham. United, set to face Norwich City on Sunday, trail by five points, while Spurs, taking on Arsenal at the Emirates, are 10 points back of the leaders.

Balotelli nearly opened the scoring in the first minute when he lashed a low, first-time effort through traffic, but Paul Robinson was equal to the task as he parried the shot to safety.

It was a sign of things to come throughout the first half as the Citizens peppered Robinson's goal with a plethora of shots.

The breakthrough eventually came through Balotelli in the 30th minute when a brilliant counter-attacking move was capped by a cool finish from the Italian.

David Silva helped turn defense into offense before slipping a pass wide to Aleksandar Kolarov on the left side. The Serbian defender played low cross in front of goal to find Balotelli and the eccentric striker redirected the shot past Robinson to the far post.

Manchester City nearly grabbed a second goal before the close of the half as a corner kick was audaciously flicked on goal by Vincent Kompany, but it was placed directly at Robinson. The rebound fell to Yaya Toure, but midfield stalwart made a hash of the close-range shot and sent his effort wide of the post.

The Citizens extended their lead in the 52nd minute thanks to a goalkeeping gaffe from Robinson.

The English 'keeper failed to properly deal with a corner kick as he palmed the ball into the air despite being under no pressure at all. It fell right to Aguero, and the Argentine made no mistake with the chance as he stuffed a one- time effort into the back of the net.

Kolarov provided the assist on City's third strike, which came in the 81st minute, as he whipped in another beautiful cross, this time met by Dzeko. The lanky striker used his height to rise above the surrounding bodies in the box and nod home his 13th Premier League goal of the season.

Manchester City has now won three on the bounce after suffering a surprising 1-0 loss at Everton. Blackburn, meanwhile, has lost three of its last four to remain in the relegation zone on 21 points.

Chelsea 3, Bolton 0

London, England - Chelsea avoided further embarrassment after a poor run of form by cruising to a 3-0 defeat of Bolton at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Manager Andre Villas-Boas has been on the hot seat of late, but Chelsea's first win in five Premier League matches will momentarily relieve some of the pressure on the young Portuguese tactician.

After a scoreless first half that saw Bolton defend admirably, Chelsea hit for three following the restart as David Luiz, Didier Drogba, and Frank Lampard netted in the 48th, 61st, and 79th minutes, respectively.

The win helps the Blues improve to 46 points on the year, good enough for fourth place. Bolton has lost three straight in the league, sitting tied with Wigan for last place on 20 points.

Fulham 1, QPR 0

London, England - Pavel Pogrebnyak is proving to be a real coup for Fulham as he scored the lone goal in the seventh minute on Saturday to see the Cottagers claim a 1-0 win over QPR at Loftus Road.

The Russian striker joined the West London club during the January transfer window and has already demonstrated his value, scoring his second goal for the club in just his second appearance. QPR was left with no way back after Samba Diakite was sent off in the 34th minute when he picked up his second yellow card of the game.

QPR has lost three straight and is falling closer and closer to the relegation zone - the club is only outside of the drop zone on goal differential. Fulham, meanwhile, has moved up to 11th place with its second straight win, improving to 33 points.

Newcastle 2, Wolverhampton 2

Newcastle, England - Terry Connor marked his debut as Wolverhampton caretaker manager with a resilient 2-2 draw with Newcastle at SportsDirect Arena on Saturday.

Newcastle secured a two-goal lead in the first half thanks to Papiss Cisse and Jonas Gutierrez, but Wolves battled back in the second half, getting goals from Matt Jarvis and Kevin Doyle to help the visitors earn a share of the points.

The draw brings Newcastle level with Arsenal for fifth place on 43 points, but the Gunners have a game in hand and are set to host Tottenham on Sunday. Wolverhampton moves one point clear of the relegation zone, sitting fifth from bottom on 22 points.

West Bromwich 4, Sunderland 0

West Bromwich, England - West Bromwich handed Sunderland its worst loss under Martin O'Neill as the Baggies hammered the Black Cats, 4-0, at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

Peter Odemwingie led West Brom with a two-goal performance, scoring three minutes into both halves, while James Morrison and Keith Andrews popped up with goals in the 41st and 90th minutes, respectively.

Sunderland has now lost two on the bounce to remain ninth on 33 points, while West Brom has won two straight to climb to 12th place on 32 points.

Wigan 0, Aston Villa 0

Wigan, England - Wigan and Aston Villa played to a 0-0 stalemate at the DW Stadium on Saturday, a result that does not do either club any favors.

The Latics move into a tie with Bolton for last place, but remain bottom on goal differential.

Aston Villa sits 15th on 29 points, eight points clear of the relegation zone.