Arsenal, Man City respond to Euro woes to EPL wins

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Associated Press

Posted on October 29, 2012 at 7:05 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 29 at 7:09 AM

LONDON (AP) — Manchester City and Arsenal responded to midweek Champions League setbacks with unconvincing 1-0 wins in the English Premier League on Saturday.

Carlos Tevez secured City's victory over Swansea, putting the champions a point behind Chelsea before the leaders host Manchester United on Sunday.

"They sat quite deep and made it difficult for us to get the ball forward," City midfielder Gareth Barry said.

It took Mikel Arteta's late goal for Arsenal to overcome winless, 10-man Queens Park Rangers and rise to fourth — seven points behind Chelsea.

While Arsenal's attack lacked cutting edge, the team was boosted by midfielder Jack Wilshere successfully returning after 17 months out of competitive action.

"It's been a long journey but I'm back now ... we didn't underestimate QPR and knew they were going to be strong, especially from midfield and the wingers," the 20-year-old Englishman said.

The match at Etihad Stadium was the longest since the Premier League's inception in 1992, with more than 12 minutes of stoppage time after potentially serious injuries to Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm and City defender Micah Richards led to them being carried off during the second half.

Vorm is set to be out for up to six weeks, Swansea manager Michael Laudrup said.

The only goal came in the 61st minute, with Tevez sending the dipping shot into the bottom corner of the net beyond Vorm, who was injured while stretching to save.

Richards was later running down the pitch when he went down in agony holding his right knee. After receiving oxygen on the pitch he was carried off.

At Emirates Stadium, Arteta's winner came four minutes after QPR defender Stephane M'Bia was sent off in the 80th for kicking out at Thomas Vermaelen while on the ground after being fouled by the rival defender.

Olivier Giroud's initial header from Andrei Arshavin's cross was saved by Cesar but Arteta pounced to head against the bar and he prodded the rebound into the net.

The win lifted some of the gloom after successive losses in the league and Champions League.

"I am very happy with the result because we lost two big games and you could see the confidence was a bit jaded," manager Arsene Wenger said. "But we were serious and we moved the ball quite well. We needed to be patient."

Wigan emerged victorious for the first time at home this season as West Ham was beaten 2-1.

Ivan Ramis volleyed Wigan in front in the 8th and James McArthur's goal early in the second half proved decisive as James Tomkins pulled one back for West Ham in stoppage time.

There was also a late goal at Reading, with Hal Robson-Kanu retrieving a 3-3 draw with Fulham — the fourth goal in the last 13 minutes.

Reading remains in the relegation zone, clear of Southampton on goal difference and a point ahead of QPR.

Aston Villa and Norwich are just out of the drop zone after drawing 1-1.

Stoke endured a 0-0 draw with Sunderland but extended its unbeaten home run in the league to 11 matches.

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Lionel Messi scored twice to help Spanish leader Barcelona roll to a 5-0 win at Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, as coach Tito Vilanova set the best start for a first-year coach in the 113-year history of the Catalan club.

Messi had his sixth two-goal game of the season in all competitions for Barcelona, and that doesn't include his hat trick a week ago against Deportivo.

Cesc Fabregas set up David Villa's 20th-minute opener to set Barcelona on course. Messi scored his 16th and 17th goals in all competitions in a second half that also saw Xavi Hernandez and Fabregas find the net.

Barcelona's eighth win in its first nine games kept it unbeaten and lifted it three points ahead of Atletico Madrid before its game against last-place Osasuna on Sunday.

The no-nonsense win also let Barcelona keep the pressure on Real Madrid by opening up an 11-point gap ahead of the defending champion's tough test at Mallorca.

Malaga remained third in the Spanish league after drawing 0-0 at struggling Espanyol on Saturday, while Salva Sevilla's early goal gave Real Betis a 1-0 home win over Valencia.

Malaga outplayed Espanyol in the first half, with defender Martin Demichelis coming close with a pair of headers at Cornella-El Prat stadium.

In Seville, Betis midfielder Sevilla drove his volley past goalkeeper Diego Alves, who got a hand to the ball but not enough to keep it out, to score what proved to be the winner in the ninth minute.

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BERLIN (AP) — Borussia Dortmund won 2-0 at Freiburg to get its Bundesliga title defense back on track in difficult conditions on Saturday.

Heavy snowfall hampered both teams in a hard-fought game.

Neven Subotic scored in the 54th minute and Mario Goetze made the game safe for Dortmund with seven minutes remaining.

Jefferson Farfan's 77th-minute strike was enough for Schalke to complete a perfect week with a 1-0 win at home over Nuremberg. Schalke won the Ruhr derby against Dortmund last weekend and then 2-0 at Arsenal in the Champions League midweek.

Wolfsburg beat Fortuna Duesseldorf 4-1 away to end its seven-game run without a win in interim coach Lorenz-Guenther Koestner's first game in charge.

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PARIS (AP) — Lille bounced back from its midweek Champions League defeat by beating Valenciennes 2-1 in the French league on Saturday.

Lille, which lost 1-0 at home to Bayern Munich on Tuesday, made the perfect start when Valenciennes defender Gaetan Bong turned the ball into his own net under pressure from Lille striker Nolan Roux in the second minute as they were both stretching for a loose ball.

Valenciennes midfielder Carlos Sanchez was sent off in the 28th for picking up two quick yellow cards.

Lille got its second goal just before the break when forward Salomon Kalou broke free and passed wide to winger Dimitri Payet, who scored with a powerful low shot across goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau.

Anthony Le Tallec pulled a goal back for Valenciennes with 20 minutes remaining after a fine run and pass from midfielder Gael Danic.

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MILAN (AP) — AC Milan got a much-needed win, beating Genoa 1-0 to move into the top half of the Serie A on Saturday.

Stephan El Shaarawy's sixth league goal of the season on his 20th birthday handed Milan only its third win in nine matches.

The young striker refused to celebrate and left the field at the end of the game with tears in his eyes. El Shaarawy spent almost his entire youth career at Genoa, where he also made his Serie A debut.

"I'm a bit moved, it's been the best birthday of my life. I'm emotional and happy, both with the victory and the goal," El Shaarawy said. "Is this my Milan? I'm happy people are saying that. I'm just trying to give my all and put myself at the disposal of the coach.

Milan also had two decent penalty claims turned down in an otherwise dull match at San Siro.

There was still plenty to worry about for coach Massimiliano Allegri, not least in defense, which again looked shaky. However, he was still at the helm following reports he was facing the axe if Milan failed to win.

"It's a deserved victory," Allegri said. "Up until now the criticism has been excessive considering what the lads have done on the pitch. We could have scored in the first half, there were several dubious penalty incidents, we also made several mistakes in our passing. Today, there was a difficult atmosphere so I'm happy the lads reacted.

"I was very calm because the team had always put on good performances. We need to find confidence, especially in front of goal. With goals everything becomes easier."

Genoa remains mired in difficulty as new coach Luigi Del Neri's reign got off to a miserable start. It has gone five games without a win.

Serie A strugglers Siena and Palermo played out a dull goalless draw on Saturday, in a clash between the league's bottom two clubs.

Both teams struggled to carve out goalscoring opportunities. Palermo fared the better in the second half but failed to score for the sixth time this season.

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Christos Aravidis scored twice, including an 87th minute winner, to lead Panionios to a 2-1 victory over host Panthrakikos in the Greek league Saturday.

Aravidis had opened the scoring in the 18th but Juan Manuel Munafo equalized for Panthrakikos in the 59th.

The win propelled Panionios to second place in the Greek league, 3 points behind leader Olympiakos. The defending champion will have the chance to widen its lead when it travels to Aris Monday.

Panionios moved ahead of PAOK, which was held to a scoreless draw at Kerkyra, prompting an angry PAOK coach Giorgos Donis to declare after the game that his players failed to follow any of his instructions.

Also Saturday, Levadiakos and Asteras played to a scoreless draw.

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