LONDON - Manchester City took over at the top of the Premier League table after winning 2-0 against Newcastle United in a tempestuous encounter at St James' Park on Sunday. Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo claimed City's goals, but the match's defining incident occurred mid-way through the first half when Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote had a goal contentiously ruled out for offside.

Referee Mike Jones decided that Yoan Gouffran had impeded City goalkeeper Joe Hart as Tiote's shot flashed past him, but the home fans jeered the decision and Newcastle manager Alan Pardew harangued Jones at half-time. It was City's sixth consecutive league win and lifted them above Chelsea at the summit, although they will lose their hold on first place if Arsenal win at Aston Villa on Monday.

"It was a very difficult game and it's a very big result as we know it's a tough place to come and win," said City manager Manuel Pellegrini, who also lost Samir Nasri to what he described as a "serious" knee injury. Pellegrini played down a touchline row between himself and Pardew in the angry aftermath of Tiote's disallowed goal and said that Jones had made the correct call.

"Nothing important was said on the touchline between me and Alan Pardew, but I think it's impossible for the referee to handle a game when every time he gave a decision against Newcastle there were complaints," he said. "It was an offside goal as they were interfering with Joe Hart and the referee made that call."

Pardew, whose side remain in eighth place, said that Jones had not adequately explained his decision to rule out Tiote's goal. "I'm not thrilled with the referee's answer when I've asked for an explanation as I don't quite get how he can disallow a goal of that quality on the technical point he is using," he said. "Joe Hart is nowhere near it. It goes through a crowd of City players who are impairing his view. It's a massive call on a very technical point."

Bidding to avenge a 4-0 defeat at City on the season's opening weekend, Newcastle began at a high tempo, but it took the visitors less than eight minutes to make the breakthrough. David Silva released Aleksandar Kolarov with an incisive pass down the inside-left channel and the Serbian left-back delivered a low cross that was clipped home by Dzeko. The controversy arrived in the 34th minute when Tiote thrashed a superb shot past Hart from the edge of the box, only for Jones to disallow the goal after consulting his assistant, Stephen Child.

Hart kept Newcastle at bay in the second half, saving well from Yohan Cabaye and Loic Remy, before City midfielder Nasri had to be stretchered off following a wild, knee-high foul by Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. After Fernandinho had hit the bar with a header, Negredo sealed victory for City in the fifth minute of stoppage time when he ran the ball into the net after seeing an initial attempt blocked by Tim Krul.

There was controversy, too, as Liverpool beat Stoke City 5-3 in an enthralling match to return to the top four and claim their first league victory at the Britannia Stadium at the sixth attempt. A fifth-minute Ryan Shawcross own goal and an opportunistic Luis Suarez effort put the visitors 2-0 up, only for Stoke to draw level before half-time through Liverpool old boys Peter Crouch and Charlie Adam.

Crouch reduced the arrears with a deft header from a Marko Arnautovic cross, before Adam drove a rasping drive past Simon Mignolet from outside the area. However, after Marc Wilson had been penalised for felling Raheem Sterling, much to the disgust of the Stoke supporters, Steven Gerrard restored Liverpool's lead from the penalty spot in the 51st minute. Daniel Sturridge made his return from a seven-week injury lay-off as a substitute and he neatly teed up Suarez for his second goal -- and 22nd of the campaign -- with 19 minutes to play.

Jon Walters gave Stoke hope by squeezing a shot past Mignolet in the 85th minute, but Sturridge beat Jack Butland at the second attempt two minutes later to finally put a breathless game to bed.

Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck claimed second-half goals to leave United four points outside the Premier League's top four in seventh place, six days after Swansea had dumped them out of the FA Cup on the same pitch. Teenage winger Adnan Januzaj was the catalyst for United's victory and he went close to opening the scoring in the 11th minute with a free-kick that struck the crossbar.

Welbeck also squandered a glorious chance when he bundled wide, but the pressure told early in the second period when Valencia tapped home after Gerhard Tremmel parried a header from Shinji Kagawa. Januzaj provided the cross for Kagawa and he was also the source of United's second goal, in the 59th minute, with a centre that was cleared to Patrice Evra, whose first-time shot was deftly flicked home by Welbeck.

Chris Smalling somehow contrived to volley over from a cross by Kagawa, who also had a shot blocked on the line, but while there were no further goals, the rediscovered swagger in United's play will have been a sight for the sore eyes of their fans. Earlier, Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres scored two excellent goals as Chelsea won 2-0 at Hull City to climb to the top of the table. Hazard, who turned 23 on Tuesday, broke the deadlock in the 56th minute at the KC Stadium, gathering a flick from Ashley Cole, evading a pair of defenders, and drilling a shot into the bottom-right corner. Torres marked his 200th Premier League appearance with a late goal that saw him wriggle past Alex Bruce and slam the ball inside the left-hand post with his left foot.

Victory moved Jose Mourinho's side into first place above former leaders Arsenal, who visit Aston Villa on Monday, and set them up nicely for next weekend's home game with United. Chelsea manager Mourinho dismissed French media reports linking man-of-the-match Hazard with a move to Paris Saint-Germain, saying: "The club doesn't want to sell him.

"Last year you saw a talented Hazard; this year he is a much more mature player. He deserves more than man of the match, probably player of the month. Not many are doing what he is doing." Everton climbed back into the Champions League places with a 2-0 victory at home to Norwich City. Gareth Barry put Everton ahead in the 23rd minute with a fine 20-yard shot that fizzed into the top-right corner, before Kevin Mirallas scored direct from a free-kick on the hour.

Tottenham Hotspur are a point behind Roberto Martinez's side in fifth place after beating Crystal Palace by the same score at White Hart Lane. After Palace winger Jason Puncheon horribly miscued an early penalty, Christian Eriksen broke the deadlock in the 50th minute from Emmanuel Adebayor's flick-on. A day after his transfer to Toronto FC was announced, Spurs striker Jermain Defoe was granted a warm reception after coming on as a second-half substitute and he claimed a well-taken goal with 18 minutes remaining.

"It was a typical Jermain Defoe finish," said Spurs manager Tim Sherwood. "He's pounced on it and struck. I'll be sorry to lose Jermain. Toronto are getting a fine goalscorer." Adam Johnson scored the first hat-trick of his professional career as Sunderland won 4-1 at Fulham to climb off the foot of the table and close to within a point of safety. Johnson teed up Sunderland's other goal, for Ki Sung-yueng, with Steve Sidwell replying for the hosts.

West Ham United spoilt Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first home game as Cardiff City manager as goals from Carlton Cole and Mark Noble gave Sam Allardyce's side a 2-0 win that took them out of the bottom three at their hosts' expense. Meanwhile, a 66th-minute strike from captain Adam Lallana earned Southampton a 1-0 win at home to West Bromwich Albion.

POINT TABLE

Club    M    P    D    L    GF    GA    Pts

Man City    21    15    2    4    59    23    47

Chelsea    21    14    4    3    40    19    46

Arsenal    20    14    3    3    39    18    45

Liverpool    21    13    3    5    51    26    42

Everton    21    11    8    2    34    19    41

Tottenham    21    12    4    5    26    25    40

Man Utd    21    11    4    6    35    24    37

Newcastle    21    10    3    8    29    27    33

Southampton    21    8    6    7    27    23    30

Hull    21    6    5    10    22    27    23

Aston Villa    20    6    5    9    19    25    23

Stoke    21    5    7    9    22    35    22

Swansea    21    5    6    10    26    30    21

West Brom    21    4    9    8    23    28    21

Norwich    21    5    5    11    17    35    20

Fulham    21    6    1    14    22    46    19

West Ham    21    4    6    11    21    30    18

Cardiff    21    4    6    11    15    34    18

Sunderland    21    4    5    12    19    34    17

Crystal Palace    21    5    2    14    13    31    17

RESULTS

Manchester City    2

Newcastle United    0

Liverpool    5

Stoke City    3