Man City return to top of English Premier League with win at Villa

    Joleon Lescott celebrates his winning goal in Manchester City's 1-0 victory at Aston Villa.

    Story highlights

    • Manchester City return to top of the English Premier League with win at Aston Villa
    • Sunday's 1-0 victory puts City two points clear of Manchester United
    • Wolverhampton manager Mick McCarthy sacked after 5-1 thrashing by West Brom
    • In Italy's Serie A, fifth-placed Inter Milan slump to 1-0 defeat to bottom club Novara
    Manchester City regained top spot in the English Premier League with Sunday's 1-0 win at Aston Villa.
    Joleon Lescott's goal early in the second half sealed the three points which took City two points clear of rivals Manchester United in the title race.
    United had briefly hit the summit after Saturday's 2-1 win over Liverpool, but Roberto Mancini's side showed their mettle with a hard-fought win at Villa Park.
    City dominated possession and might have gone ahead in the first half as England winger Adam Johnson hit the post with a long-range effort.
    England international defender Lescott took his chance from close range after Gareth Barry headed David Silva's corner across goal.
    Villa, who have slipped to 15th after five defeats in seven home games, staged a late rally and Carlos Cuellar might have scored with a free header.
    England goalkeeper Joe Hart also made a superb save to deny fellow international Darren Bent from close range as Villa pressed to salvage a point.
    "This was a difficult game. We knew it would be, but the guys played fantastic," Mancini told the match broadcaster.
    "In the first half we played fantastic football, missing only a goal. Villa defended very well in the second half but we got the goal. Joleon played a fantastic game."
    Earlier Sunday, West Bromwich Albion thrashed Wolverhampton 5-1 in the "Black Country" Midlands derby at Molineux with Nigeria striker Peter Odemwingie scoring his first EPL hat-trick .
    The defeat left Wolves deep in relegation trouble, and manager Mick McCarthy was sacked on Monday despite apologizing to fans after the match.
    The former Sunderland and Republic of Ireland boss joined Wolves in 2006 and kept the club in the top flight for two seasons after winning promotion in 2009, but paid the price for a run of just 14 points in 22 league games.
    In Italy's Serie A, Inter Milan's poor recent run continued with a 1-0 defeat to bottom club Novara Sunday.
    The 2010 European champions have now gone five games without a win after Andrea Caracciolo scored the only goal for the strugglers.
    It was fifth-placed Inter's fourth defeat in those five games, including an Italian Cup loss to Napoli.
    It left Claudio Ranieri's men six points off the final Champions League qualification place and 11 behind leaders and defending champions AC Milan.