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United And Arsenal Close Gap On Leaders Chelsea

Welbeck-headerChelsea failed to win for only the third time in the Premier League this season as they were held to a goalless draw at Sunderland. The draw sees Chelsea seven points clear at the top of the table ahead of Southampton, who play third-placed Manchester City on Sunday. It was a spirited performance by Sunderland, who came close to snatching victory late on only for Adam Johnson to waste the chance.

Earlier, Manchester United made it three wins in a row for the first time in almost a year as Louis van Gaal’s side beat a poor Hull 3-0 at Old Trafford. Chris Smalling scrambled the ball home to give United a 16th-minute lead before Wayne Rooney made it 2-0 three minutes before the break and then Robin van Persie fired into the top corner for only his fourth goal in 12 games.

The win saw United maintain their fourth place which had been under threat when Danny Welbeck’s thumping header saw Arsenal take all three points in the lunchtime kick-off at West Brom. The Gunners dominated but only managed a 1-0 win thanks to Welbeck’s fourth Premier League goal of the season in the 60th minute, while Saido Berahino came closest for the Baggies but his header struck the bar.

Newcastle United’s hopes of a seventh consecutive league win came unstuck against one of their former managers. Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United took the honours winning 1-0 thanks to Aaron Creswell’s 55th-minute shot, with the Magpies’ task not being helped by Moussa Sissoko being sent off for a second bookable offence.

Liverpool were also celebrating a 1-0 win at home to Stoke City, where Glen Johnson’s brave header five minutes from time brought some welcome relief to manager Brendan Rodgers after a generally lethargic display at Anfield.

Burnley’s decent form continued with a 1-1 draw at home to Aston Villa but the Clarets were grateful to an 87th-minute penalty from Danny Ings after Lukas Jutkiewicz had been fouled. Villa had gone ahead in the 39th minute thanks to Joe Cole, who marked his first Premier League start since December 2013 with the opening goal.

Queens Park Rangers lifted themselves off the bottom of the table after emerging 3-2 victors over fellow strugglers Leicester City. Esteban Cambiasso gave the visitors the lead with a sweet finish in the eighth minute, before a Wes Morgan own goal saw QPR draw level.

Leroy Fer grabbed the lead for the hosts just before the break only for Jeffrey Schlupp to equalise in the 67th minute. It was left to Charlie Austin, with his fifth goal in five games, to snatch the points for Harry Redknapp’s side with a close-range header.

It finished all square in Wales between Swansea City and Crystal Palace, where Wilfried Bony’s sixth of season saw the Swans take the lead but Neil Warnock’s visitors battled back to secure a 1-1 draw. Palace’s Australian skipper Mile Jedinak scored from the spot for his fifth goal in eight matches after Jonjo Shelvey had been penalised for fouling Marouane Chamakh.