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Tim Hales, Associated Press
Manchester City's Mario Balotelli, right, tries to reach the ball under pressure from Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny during their English Premier League soccer match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester, England, Sunday Dec. 18, 2011.

LONDON — Manchester City's expensively assembled squad showed Sunday that it may have the character as well as the talent necessary to win the Premier League, beating Arsenal 1-0 to stay top of the standings.

Manchester United's 2-0 win at Queens Park Rangers in the day's early match meant City knew it had to avoid defeat or lose the top spot it had held since mid-October.

City went one better, beating Arsenal 1-0 to stay two points ahead of its local rival.

David Silva capped a period of sustained pressure by City with the only goal in the 53rd minute and goalkeeper Joe Hart made a string of saves to keep Arsenal out.

Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick scored for United, while Tottenham beat Sunderland 1-0 to take third place.