• Premier League round-up

Utd brush off brief QPR scare, Gomez stuns Reading

ESPN staff
November 24, 2012
Manchester United came from behind to confirm victory © Getty Images

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Manchester United overcame a scare against Harry Redknapp's new side QPR to return to the top of the Premier League on Saturday, as West Brom underlined their European qualification credentials with a 4-2 away win at Sunderland.

Arsenal stay sixth following a goalless draw at Aston Villa, while elsewhere a Jordi Gomez-led Wigan left it late to emerge victorious in a five-goal thriller against Reading, on a day when Stoke also won.

Premier League table & results
Plays of the Day: The perfect hat-trick

At Old Trafford, Redknapp nearly witnessed a remarkable victory when QPR took a second half lead against Manchester United, before Sir Alex Ferguson rang the changes and engineered a 3-1 triumph that saw the club leapfrog Manchester City to top the table - at least for 24 hours.

Goals from Jonny Evans, Darren Fletcher and Javier Hernandez belatedly secured the points for the home side, after Jamie Mackie's 52nd minute opener had briefly given the away supporters fanciful notions of a memorable first win of the campaign.

Aston Villa 0-0 Arsenal

Mackie had already had a goal disallowed in the first half before finally breaking the deadlock, as the former non-league player capitalised on Anders Lindegaard's parry after United had failed to properly defend a short corner.

But Evans and Fletcher - both from Wayne Rooney corners - restored the status quo within 15 minutes, before Hernandez found a third in typically clinical fashion - and after good interplay with fellow substitute Anderson - to kill the game off with nearly 20 minutes still remaining.

Arsenal are four points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, having played the extra game, after they drew 0-0 with Aston Villa in the day's late kick-off. Arsene Wenger left Jack Wilshere on the bench at Villa Park and the Gunners looked shorn of creativity as Villa came closest to scoring.

A fairly lifeless first half almost saw Villa take a lead into the break when Andreas Weimann stabbed home a well-worked free-kick, only to see the flag raised for offside. Arsenal left Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen and Wilshere on the bench, and looked a disjointed outfit throughout.

Santi Cazorla briefly flickered when he linked with Olivier Giroud before lashing wide, but Villa had the better moments, with Brett Holman sending in a 25-yard drive that Wojciech Szczesny tipped onto the bar 10 minutes before full-time.

In the day's early kick-off, West Brom continued their strong early season form with an exhilarating 4-2 win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light - moving into third in the table as a result.

Marc-Antoine Fortune completed the win for WBA © Getty Images

The Baggies looked to be cruising when Zoltan Gera - with a curling long range effort - and Shane Long - after stealing the ball off Simon Mignolet - gave the side a 2-0 half-time lead.

But Craig Gardner scored with a deflected free-kick to set up a tense final 20 minutes before Adam Johnson, with a sloppy defensive challenge, brought down Liam Ridgewell to hand Romelu Lukaku an opening from the spot to ease Steve Clarke's concerns.

Sunderland refused to lie down in the closing minutes, getting back to 3-2 through Stephane Sessegnon, but they could not break through for a leveller. The Black Cats ultimately left themselves exposed as Marc-Antoine Fortune finally clinched the three-points, converting Lukaku's assist.

A Jordi Gomez hat-trick was the difference between two struggling sides at the DW Stadium, as Wigan came from behind to beat Reading 3-2.

The Latics went 1-0 down early on to Sean Morrison's header, before Gomez flipped the script to put the home side on course for victory. An Ali Al-Habsi own goal with ten minutes remaining then had Brian McDermott's side expecting a draw - but Gomez popped up in the second minute of injury-time to steal all three points.

The final strike - a left-footed effort into the bottom right corner from Arouna Kone's pass - completed a perfect hat-trick for the Spaniard; his opener having come from his right foot and his second a well-placed header.

Steven Naismith scored, but Everton could not win in the end © PA Photos

Elsewhere, Everton were held to a frustrating draw against Norwich at Goodison Park, as Sebastien Bassong's 90th minute header cancelled out Steven Naismith's first half opener.

Naismith needed 12 minutes to find the top corner from Bryan Oviedo's perceptive pass, a finish that looked like clinching all three points as the game entered stoppage-time. But Bassong had different ideas - rising highest to meet Javier Garrido's cross and give Chris Hughton's side something for their efforts.

The visitors owed a debt of thanks to goalkeeper John Ruddy, however, the former Toffees understudy making a string of solid saves to create the opportunity for the Canaries to clinch a point.

Finally, at the Britannia Stadium Stoke City picked up another win in a hard-fought 1-0 triumph against Fulham.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis had highlighted the threat of Dimitar Berbatov before the game, but the Bulgarian was prevented from making an impact as the home side's main striker, Peter Crouch, was instead involved in the decisive moment of the match. Fending off defenders to head on, Crouch gave Charlie Adam the time and space to rifle home the only goal of the match after 25 minutes.

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