x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Arsenal reclaim top spot in Premier League

Arsene Wenger's side end the year top of the pile after 1-0 victory over Newcastle and Romelu Lukaku back among the goals in Everton win against Southampton.

Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates scoring against Newcastle United on Sunday. Michael Regan / Getty Images
Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates scoring against Newcastle United on Sunday. Michael Regan / Getty Images

For all the recent talk of crisis in their camp, Arsenal will go into 2014 on top of the English Premier League after winning 1-0 at Newcastle United on Sunday.

Olivier Giroud supplied the decisive touch, making the slightest of contact with a Theo Walcott free-kick in the 65th minute and diverting the ball past Tim Krul. It was his eighth league goal of the season.

Newcastle piled on the pressure late on in search of an equaliser, but Arsenal held firm to make sure of three points. The victory puts Arsenal back on top of the league with 42 points, one clear of Manchester City, who won 1-0 at home against Crystal Palace on Saturday. Newcastle slipped to eighth place on 33 points.

Chelsea pulled within a point of City after rallying for a 2-1 home win over Liverpool. Martin Skrtel had put Liverpool in front after just four minutes, but Eden Hazard levelled in the 17th minute with a sweetly struck shot from 20 yards. Samuel Eto’o provided a rare goal from Chelsea’s strikers, beating Skrtel to a square ball from Oscar and poking home past Simon Mignolet to make it 2-1 after 34 minutes.

Mamadou Sakho hit the post with a header in the second half, but Liverpool could not find a way past the Chelsea defence. Chelsea are third with 40 points, while Liverpool end the year in fifth with 36 points after being top of the league on Boxing Day.

Elsewhere, Tottenham Hotspur cruised to a 3-0 win over Stoke City at White Hart Lane. Roberto Soldado opened the scoring with a 37th-minute penalty kick, and second-half goals from Moussa Dembele and Aaron Lennon made sure of the points.

Tottenham are unbeaten in three league games under new manager Tim Sherwood, winning two and drawing one. They are seventh on 34 points, level with sixth-place Manchester United but behind on goal difference. Stoke City stayed 12th with 21 points.

At Goodison Park, Everton bounced back from their shock home loss to last-place Sunderland by defeating Southampton 2-1. Seamus Coleman delighted the home fans with his ninth-minute opener, thumping his shot past Kelvin Davis and into the far side-netting.

Gaston Ramirez, a second-half substitute, threatened to further sour the holiday season for the blue half of Liverpool with his 71st-minute strike, but Romelu Lukaku settled Everton’s nerves three minutes later. His ninth league goal of the season, set up by James McCarthy, proved to be the winner.

Everton moved into fourth place on 37 points, finishing 2013 a point above city rivals Liverpool, while Southampton remained ninth on 27 points.