FOOTBALL NEWS

Barclays Premier League

Results: 19 December

Arsenal 3-0 Hull City
Aston Villa 1-0 Stoke City
Blackburn 0-2 Tottenham
Fulham 3-0 Man Utd
Man City 4-3 Sunderland
Portsmouth 2-0 Liverpool

Fixtures: 20 December

Everton v Birmingham, 15:00
West Ham v Chelsea, 16:00
Wolverhampton v Burnley, 13:30

19/12/2009 17:42, Report by Adam Bostock
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City win, Sparky sacked

If it was a bad day at the office for United, it was an awful one for the club's former striker Mark Hughes as he was dramatically sacked from his post as Manchester City boss.

The Welshman, nicknamed 'Sparky' during his playing days at Old Trafford, had just overseen a hard-fought 4-3 win for the Blues at Eastlands when rumours began to circulate about his dismissal.

City then issued a statement to confirm Hughes' fate - and announce ex-Inter Milan manager Roberto Mancini as his successor. The Italian takes over a team in sixth place, following their seven-goal thriller against Sunderland.

The Blues blew a two-goal lead to find themselves drawing 2-2 after 24 minutes, and were later pegged back at 3-3 after Kenwyne Jones cancelled out Craig Bellamy’s strike. Fears of a ninth draw in eleven league games were dispelled, however, when Roque Santa Cruz scored his second of the game to seal maximum points.

Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool suffered their seventh defeat of the season in Saturday’s early fixture, going down 2-0 at Portsmouth. Javier Mascherano’s red card made their task even more difficult and the bottom-placed side duly capitalised, with Frederic Piquionne adding to Nadir Belhadj’s

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