Arsenal on top, technology aids City surge
By Tom Williams ,AFP
January 20, 2014, 12:11 am TWN
LONDON -- Arsenal preserved their lead in the Premier League by beating Fulham 2-0 on Saturday, while goal-line technology assisted Manchester City as they overcame Cardiff City.
Arsenal knew that anything less than victory might allow City to gazump them, but it was not until Santi Cazorla claimed a quick-fire brace mid-way through the second half that they put paid to Fulham at the Emirates Stadium.
Fulham goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg had frustrated Arsenal in the first half, but he was beaten in the 57th minute when Cazorla slid a shot past him after a neat interchange involving Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere.
The Spanish midfielder added a second five minutes later, collecting the ball on the edge of the box after Nacho Monreal's cross was partially cleared and drilling a low shot into the bottom-right corner.
“The players were conscious we had to step up a gear,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
“It was just a question of time and Santi Cazorla delivered two special goals.”
City remain a point behind Arsenal after sinking Cardiff 4-2 on a day of milestones at the Etihad Stadium.
Edin Dzeko broke the deadlock in the 14th minute with a goal that was City's 100th of the season and appeared to represent the first time that goal-line technology has been decisively used to award a goal in the Premier League.
The Bosnian striker's miscued effort from David Silva's pass was hacked away from beneath the crossbar by Aron Gunnarsson, but Hawkeye replays shown on the stadium's video screens confirmed that the ball had just crossed the line.
Craig Noone equalized in the 29th minute after exploiting slack defending from Martin Demichelis and Vincent Kompany, but Jesus Navas restored the hosts' lead four minutes later with a measured finish.
Yaya Toure added a third goal in the 76th minute after a one-two with Sergio Aguero, who got on the score-sheet himself three minutes later to claim his first league goal since returning from a calf injury.
Fraizer Campbell pulled a goal back late on for Cardiff.
“Maybe I am not 100 percent happy because we conceded the second goal in the last minute,” said City manager Manuel Pellegrini.