Free-scoring Man City maintain grip at summit

Free-scoring Manchester City maintained their grip at the top of the Premier League with a 3-1 home win over Newcastle United on Saturday to take their goals tally to 42 from 12 games.

Mario Balotelli and Sergio Aguero scored penalties and Micah Richards was also on target to condemn third-placed Newcastle to their first defeat of the season and leave City as the only unbeaten side in the top flight.

City have 34 points from a possible 36 this season and have piled up a staggering goal difference of 31 to lead second-placed Manchester United by five points.

The champions did enough to earn a 1-0 victory at Swansea City in the late kick-off - their third consecutive one-goal win since their 6-1 drubbing by City at Old Trafford.

Javier Hernandez scored the only goal in the 11th minute in South Wales from a cross by Welshman Ryan Giggs to inflict a first home defeat on the Premier League newcomers.

Arsenal maintained their improvement with a fifth consecutive league victory thanks to Robin van Persie's double in a 2-1 win at Norwich City.

Bottom club Wigan Athletic ended a run of eight successive league defeats in a 3-3 home draw with fellow strugglers Blackburn Rovers, who equalised with an injury-time penalty despite playing most of the second half with 10 men.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez labelled Blackburn's second goal "scandalous" after Rovers forward Yakubu appeared to use his hand to restart play from a corner.

Bolton Wanderers remained in the relegation zone after a 2-1 defeat at West Bromwich Albion but Everton eased away from the bottom three courtesy of a 2-1 home win over fellow strugglers Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Promoted Queens Park Rangers won 3-2 at Stoke City while Sunderland drew 0-0 at home to Fulham.

UNSTOPPABLE CITY

While the 194.9 million pounds English record loss Manchester City reported for the 2010/11 financial year on Friday highlighted how much their route to the top of the league has cost, the payback is that they look unstoppable.

Roberto Mancini could again afford to juggle his squad but his selection dealt with Newcastle relatively easily.

"I'll make no bones about it, they are the best side we've played by some distance, very very powerful," Newcastle manager Alan Pardew told reporters.

City's goal tally after 12 games is the best in the top flight since Tottenham Hotspur netted 44 in their first dozen games in 1963 but Mancini warned against getting carried away with the idea his side will stroll to the title.

"As a team, we're strong now but we should think the season is long, probably there will be a difficult moment and for this reason it is important now if we can score goals, if we can win games in a row, it is very important," he told reporters.

Newcastle looked set to reach the break on level terms until Ryan Taylor blocked Yaya Toure's shot with his hands and Balotelli side-footed home the resulting penalty.