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Manchester City slip up against Sunderland

March 31, 2012 -- Updated 1721 GMT (0121 HKT)
Prayers may soon be all Manchester City have after dropping vital home points against Sunderland in the English Premier League
Prayers may soon be all Manchester City have after dropping vital home points against Sunderland in the English Premier League
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Manchester City drop vital points at home drawing 3-3 against Sunderland
  • Manchester United will go five points clear if they beat Blackburn Rovers on Monday
  • Chelsea beat Aston Villa 4-2 to keep up pressure on Tottenham in race for fourth place
  • Wolves sink further into mire with 3-2 home defeat against Bolton Wanderers

(CNN) -- Manchester City's faltering bid for a first English Premier League title in 44 years received a further setback on Saturday as they drew 3-3 with Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium.

Two late goals ensured Roberto Mancini's team preserved their unbeaten home record in the league, but it means rivals Manchester United will go five points clear at the top of the table if they win at Blackburn Rovers on Monday.

Sebastian Larsson put Sunderland ahead after half-an-hour before Mario Balotelli equalized from the penalty spot two minutes before the break after striker Edin Dzeko was brought down.

But City soon found themselves behind again when striker Nicklas Bendtner headed home in first half injury time.

Larsson got his second of the match 10 minutes after the break and City looked doomed to defeat as the match headed towards its climax.

But two goals in two minutes -- Balotelli in the 85th followed by Aleksandar Kolarov -- ensured City came away with a point.

Chelsea's quest to qualify for the Champions League received a boost as they beat Aston Villa 4-2 on an emotional day at Villa Park.

Villa captain Stiliyan Petrov, who was diagnosed with acute leukemia on Friday, watched from the stands after receiving a standing ovation before the game.

Petrov thanks fans for messages of support

Branislav Ivanovic scored twice (51st and 83rd minute) for the West Londoners after Daniel Sturridge had scored the game's opening goal in the ninth minute.

Second-half goals from James Collins and American Eric Lichaj kept Villa in the hunt for a point, but Fernando Torres made sure of three points in injury time to keep the Blues in fifth spot, two points behind Tottenham who host Swansea City tomorrow.

Muamba posts first photo

Arsenal's winning run came to an end in West London as they lost 2-1 to Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.

Moroccan midfielder Adel Taarabt put the home side in front in the 22nd minute before Theo Walcott equalized for the Gunners eight minutes before halftime.

But French midfielder Samba Diakite's 66th minute goal proved to be decisive to keep Mark Hughes' side 18th in the table with 28 points.

Arsenal remain in third with 58 points.

Fellow strugglers Wigan also won 2-0 at home to Stoke but Wolverhapton Wanderers miserable form continued as they went down 3-2 to Bolton at Molineux to leave them rooted to the bottom with 22 points.

Everton moved above Merseyside rivals Liverpool (who travel to Newcastle on Sunday) thanks to a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at Goodison Park.

A goal in either half moves David Moyes' team up to seventh with 43 points.

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