Premier League

Manchester City Go Top Of Premier League

Mario Balotelli who has been in the headlines all week about how he wants to return to Italy, scored a hat-trick to send Manchester City top of the Premier League, for a few hours at least, after they beat Aston Villa 4-0.

This was a game that was over in the first 27 minutes. City went one up and eight minutes when Balotelli, who was tripped in the box by Eric Lichaj, calmly slotted the penalty past Brad Friedel.

Five minutes later is was two nil when Joleon Lescott’s scored from a corner. Balotelli added his second in the 27th minute and then scored again in the second half from the penalty spot after Adam Johnson had been fouled by Marc Albrighton.

Villa, who have won just one of their past six league games, are just two points clear of the relegation zone and are getting dragged into a relegation fight that was unthinkable at the start of the season.

Tottenham moved above Chelsea into fourth with a 2-0 win over Newcastle at White Hart Lane. Aaron Lennon put Spurs in front on 57 minutes and though Younes Kaboul was sent off on 65 minutes a terrific strike from Gareth Bale with nine minutes to play secured the points.

Fulham recorded a first away win since August 2009, beating Stoke 2-0 via a two goals from defender Chris Baird to ease the pressure on manager Mark Hughes. The win moved Fulham out of the bottom three.

Blackpool continued their fine form away from home this season as they picked up their fifth away victory after DJ Campbell’s second-half double proved enough to take all three points at Sunderland.

Blackburn manager Steve Kean recorded his first win as Rovers beat West Brom 3-1 at The Hawthorns, despite having Nikola Kalinic sent off.

The Croatia striker had given the visitors an early lead when he had been played through by El-Hadji Diouf after just three minutes.

It has been a good holiday season for West Ham as they picked up another point after drawing 1-1 at home to Everton. The Hammers had led since the 16th minute when Radoslav Kovac’s tame overhead kick took a huge deflection off Tony Hibbert and into the net. But a Seamus Coleman goal meant both teams shared the points.