Manchester outfits United & City heat up EPL title race

Jan 23, 2012, 08:55 IST | Agencies

Manchester outfits United & City heat up title race with wins over their London based opponents

Manchester outfits United & City heat up title race with wins over their London based opponents

Manchester United kept the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester City as Danny Welbeck's late strike clinched a dramatic 2-1 win over Arsenal yesterday. United kicked off six points behind City after their rivals' victory over Tottenham earlier in the day and the champions were set to lose ground in the title race when Robin van Persie's second half goal cancelled out Antonio Valencia's opener at the Emirates Stadium.

Man City players celebrate Balotelli's (centre) winner against Tottenham.

But United have a well-earned reputation for late heroics and they came up with yet another last-gasp winner thanks to a clinical finish from Welbeck with just nine minutes remaining. Welbeck's decisive intervention moved United back within three points of City and underlined their determination to stop Roberto Mancini's men wrestling the title away from their grasp.

Manchester United players celebrate a goal during yesterday's EPL
match against Arsenal in London

No reason to fear
On the face of it, United had no reason to fear an Arsenal team thrashed 8-2 at Old Trafford in August and without a host of key players including Thierry Henry, who failed a fitness test on a calf injury. This was a much closer encounter than that Manchester mauling, but United's ruthless streak ensured the result was the same.Earlier, Mario Balotelli struck a dramatic injury-time penalty as Manchester City overcame a brave Tottenham fightback to win 3-2.

Substitute Balotelli blasted in his spot-kick deep into injury time after the Italian striker had been bundled over by Ledley King for a clear-cut penalty.

But Balotelli's winner was tinged with controversy after television replays suggested he was lucky not to be sent off in an earlier tangle with Scott Parker where he appeared to kick out at the Spurs midfielder's head. Spurs recovered from 2-0 down to level at 2-2 with goals from Jermain Defoe and Gareth Bale after City had taken the lead through Samir Nasri and Joleon Lescott.

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