NEWS
10/01/2011 01:18 EDT | Updated 12/01/2011 05:12 EST

Man City forgets Tevez worries with 4-0 win over Blackburn, remains top with United

LONDON - Manchester City moved on from the midweek turmoil of Carlos Tevez's apparent refusal to play with a resounding 4-0 victory at Blackburn in the Premier League on Saturday.

City remains joint top of the standings alongside crosstown rival Manchester United, which struggled to a 2-0 win over Norwich.

Adam Johnson, Mario Balotelli, Samir Nasri and Stefan Savic all scored second-half goals to ensure City kept pace with United, which welcomed Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez back from injury but needed late strikes by Anderson and Danny Welbeck to secure a club record 19th straight league win at Old Trafford.

The two Manchester clubs lead with 19 points from seven games, though United has the better goal difference. Newcastle went to third with 15 points after a 2-1 win over Wolverhampton stretched its unbeaten start to the season. Liverpool won 2-0 at Everton to go to 13 points alongside Chelsea, which can return alone to third place with a victory at Bolton on Sunday.

In other matches Saturday, Aston Villa earned its first home victory of the season with a 2-0 result against Wigan and Nicklas Bendtner sparked Sunderland to a 2-2 draw with West Bromwich Albion.

Tevez was suspended for two weeks on Thursday over his apparent refusal to come off the bench during City's 2-0 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League the day before, with manager Roberto Mancini saying the Argentina striker would never play for the club again.

But even with Sergio Aguero sustaining what appeared to be a groin problem, City's offence never lagged as Johnson curled in the 56th-minute opener.

Italy striker Balotelli volleyed home from Nasri three minutes later and celebrated by showing support for Mancini with a hug of the Italian coach. Nasri scored the third in the 73rd before Savic netted his first goal for City near the close.

United struggled despite the return of Hernandez and Rooney, who still managed to help flick Ryan Giggs' corner onto the path of Anderson to head home a 68th-minute opener.

Welbeck replaced Hernandez just before the opener and netted his third goal of the week in the 87th as United bounced back from a midweek 3-3 Champions League draw against Basel.

"This was not a good performance but we were gritty and we never gave in," said United manager Alex Ferguson, whose team had not dropped league points at Old Trafford since a 2-2 draw against West Bromwich Albion nearly one year ago. "That is a fantastic quality to have."

While 35 million pounds (US$51 million) signing Andy Carroll netted his first league goal to open, Luis Suarez largely ensured Liverpool won the 216th Merseyside derby by scoring a goal and being involved with an opponent's red card.

Jack Rodwell was sent off for a challenge on Suarez in the 23rd and the Uruguayan later earned a penalty that Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard saved from Dirk Kuyt.

But the Reds broke through in the 71st through Carroll before Suarez's fourth league goal sealed Liverpool's ninth win in its last 12 trips to Goodison Park in England's longest running derby.

"Sometimes the extra man works against you and sometimes it works in your favour," said Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, who returned to Goodison Park for the first time since an FA Cup match in 1991 that led to his resignation afterward. "We kept our patience and we are delighted with the result."

Demba Ba and Jonas Gutierrez led the highflying Magpies with first-half goals, and Newcastle held on to extend its unbeaten league run to 10 games despite Steven Fletcher heading in his eighth goal in 12 games for Wolves in the closing moments.

Villa, meanwhile, improved to 11 points as striker Gabriel Agbonlahor scored in the 36th before turning provider for Darren Bent in the 62nd.

At the Stadium of Light, James Morrison beat defender Wes Brown to head in West Brom's opener after just four minutes and the visitors were 2-0 up one minute later when Shane Long headed in Chris Brunt's curling free kick.

Bendtner's first goal for Sunderland since his move from Arsenal came in the 24th from a deflected shot. The Denmark striker then crossed for Ahmed Elmohamady to head in the equalizer two minutes later.

On Sunday it's: Fulham vs. Queens Park Rangers; Swansea vs. Stoke; and Tottenham vs. Arsenal.

Southampton beat Watford 4-0 to stay top of the second-tier Championship, two points ahead of Middlesbrough.