Thursday 26 December 2013
Theo Walcott scored twice in three second-half minutes as Arsenal came from behind to beat West Ham United 3-1 at Upton Park and go top of the Barclays Premier League.
The England winger's quickfire double got Arsenal's title hopes back on track after a run of three Premier League matches without a win and ensured London rivals West Ham dropped into the relegation zone. Arsene Wenger's side had to respond to falling behind to Carlton Cole's 46th minute tap in following a mistake from Wojciech Szczesny.
Walcott levelled in the 68th minute with a shot from the right, before sending a powerful header home after meeting a cross from the returning Lukas Podolski, who was introduced after Aaron Ramsey had hobbled off with a muscle strain. Podolski sealed the win 11 minutes from time, marking his first appearance since August after an absence with a hamstring injury in style with a well-taken goal from Olivier Giroud's lay-off.
The closest chasers to Arsenal are Manchester City after they maintained their 100 per cent home record in the Barclays Premier League by beating Liverpool 2-1.
Philippe Coutinho's second goal of the season put Brendan Rodgers' side in front after 24 minutes. Vincent Kompany equalised just seven minutes later before Alvaro Negredo's 14th goal of the season that put City in front on the stroke of half-time.
The second half failed to live up to the scintillating first 45 minutes, but Liverpool had their chances to salvage at least a point and Raheem Sterling was guilty of a missed chance to level the scores. City are a point behind Arsenal in second, while Liverpool sit three points behind Arsene Wenger's side in fourth.
Sunderland secured their first Barclays Premier League away win of the season as 10-man Everton were consigned to a 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park. Ki Sung-Yueng's first-half penalty boosted their survival hopes and inflicted a first home league defeat of the year on Everton. Leon Osman and Tim Howard contrived to gift Ki a golden opportunity to put Sunderland ahead after 25 minutes.
Howard played the ball to Osman from a goal-kick, only for the midfielder to be caught in possession to allow Ki in and round United States goalkeeper Howard, who brought him down. That goal proved to be decisive although neither side move in the table as a result, with Poyet's men staying bottom while Everton remain fifth.
Newcastle United maintained their fine form with a 5-1 home win over nine-man Stoke City. Loic Remy scored twice in a convincing victory for Alan Pardew's men, who have picked up 22 points from their last nine Barclays Premier League matches.
Referee Martin Atkinson, who handed red cards to Stoke’s Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson, and also sent manager Mark Hughes to the stands, after Oussama Assaidi had given the visitors a 29th-minute lead.
Remy saw a penalty saved by Thomas Sorensen, who replaced the injured Asmir Begovic, following Wilson’s exit, but found the net a minute later with the aid of a deflection. Newcastle then made the most of their two-man advantage after half-time, with Yoan Gouffran scoring for the fifth successive home game, Remy grabbing his 10th league goal of the campaign and Yohan Cabaye beating Sorensen with a glorious first-time finish.
A second Newcastle spot-kick was converted by substitute Papiss Cisse in the 80th minute to round off an one-sided second period and a difficult afternoon for Stoke.
Tim Sherwood's first match as permanent Tottenham Hotspur head coach ended in frustration as they were held to a 1-1 home draw by West Bromwich Albion. Christian Eriksen put Spurs ahead with a thunderous 20-yard free-kick, his first league goal since joining from Ajax, but Jonas Olsson bundled home an equaliser almost immediately.
West Brom's interim head coach Keith Downing strengthened his chances of becoming Steve Clarke's full-time successor after a gritty display, although the Midlands club are now eight matches without a win.
Jay Rodriguez scored twice as Southampton beat Cardiff City 3-0 to earn their first Barclays Premier League win in seven matches. The Englishman took his tally for the season to nine in all competitions with a quick-fire first-half double at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Things took a turn for the worse for Cardiff as Rickie Lambert completed an easy triumph for Southampton before half-time. There was no way back for the Bluebirds in the second half and Mackay's side have now won just one of their last eight top-flight matches.
A late Scott Parker strike handed Fulham a boost in the club's relegation battle as Rene Meulensteen's side triumphed 2-1 at Norwich City. Gary Hooper scored for the fourth consecutive Barclays Premier League home match to give Norwich a 13th-minute lead as his shot struck Aaron Hughes and deceived David Stockdale in the Fulham goal.
The visitors had the better chances for the rest of the first period and, although Parker saw a goal disallowed for handball, Meulensteen's men were level in the 33rd minute thanks to Pajtim Kasami's free-kick. Both teams looked set for a point apiece, only for Parker to fire in an unstoppable strike with less than five minutes remaining to move Fulham on to 16 points. Fulham remain inside the bottom three on goal difference, while Norwich are three points clear of the relegation zone.
Dwight Gayle's last-gasp goal snatched Crystal Palace a 1-0 win at Aston Villa to lift them out of the Barclays Premier League's bottom three.
The Boxing Day clash at Villa Park appeared set to finish goalless until Gayle collected a pass from fellow substitute Jonathan Williams and curled the ball home from 20 yards. The result moved Palace to 17th in the league, above Fulham on goal difference, and left Villa just three points clear of danger following a fourth successive defeat.
Manchester United kicked off the day's proceedings by coming from being two goals down to beat Hull City 3-2. Hull had stunned the visitors with early goals from James Chester and David Meyler but goals from Chris Smalling and Wayne Rooney wiped out the deficit before half-time before Chester's own goal provided the champions with three points.
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FT Hull City 2-3 Manchester United | #HULMUN | Matchday Live report >>
FT Aston Villa 0-1 Crystal Palace | #AVLCRY | Matchday Live >>
FT Cardiff City 0-3 Southampton | #CARSOU | Matchday Live >>
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FT Everton 0-1 Sunderland | #EVESUN | Matchday Live >>
FT Newcastle United 5-1 Stoke City | #NEWSTK | Matchday Live >>
FT Norwich City 1-2 Fulham | #NORFUL | Matchday Live >>
FT Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 West Bromwich Albion | #TOTWBA | Matchday Live >>
FT West Ham United 1-3 Arsenal | #WHUARS | Matchday Live >>
FT Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool | #MCILIV | Matchday Live >>