Arsenal moved one point clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table with a 2-0 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday. Meanwhile, their north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur lost only their second game this season as Newcastle United won 2-1 at White Hart Lane. Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool looked all set to lose three points before a late equaliser saw the Reds and West Brom share the spoils.
Aston Villa 0-2 Arsenal
Arsenal started with an unchanged squad that beat Sunderland 3-1 last weekend. The Gunners were in third place when they arrived at Villa Park and heaped more misery on the side as they are now guaranteed to finish bottom of the table by Christmas. Only three teams have survived relegation from such a position before in the Premier League.
Olivier Giroud scored the opener from the penalty spot in the eighth minute after Theo Walcott was brought down in the box by Villa right-back Alan Hutton. It was Olivier Giroud’s 50th goal in the Premier League since joining the Gunners in 2012.
Aaron Ramsey doubled the lead in the 38th minute from a move he started in Arsenal’s half. Winning the ball outside the box, Ramsey launched a counter-attack that saw Theo Walcott send a through ball to Mesut Ozil who easily squared it to Ramsey and the Welshman made no mistake in finding the back of the net.
This was Mesut Ozil’s 13th assist this season – the highest in Europe and seven short of Thierry Henry’s record of 20 in an EPL season. Meanwhile, Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech also equaled David James’s record of most clean sheets in the Premier League era with his 169th clean sheet but he has done it more than 200 games less!
Arsenal took their foot off the gas in the second half as Villa never looked to threaten. At one stage, Villa had four consecutive corners but could make nothing of it. Villa had only two shots on target as the Gunners cruised to a routine win to get all three points.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Newcastle
Tottenham lost only their second game this season when 18th placed Newcastle came away from White Hart Lane with three points. Eric Dier had given Tottenham the lead in the 39th minute from a corner kick sent in by Christian Eriksen.
But Newcastle soon equalised through Aleksandar Mitrovic when he bundled the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble. Super-sub Ayoze Perez then got the Magpies all three points when he scored in the third minute of injury time with Mitrovic providing the assist.
The result sees Newcastle climb up the table to 15th place, a point above Chelsea who play Leicester City on Monday night.
Liverpool 2-2 West Bromwich Albion
In what was Tony Pulis’s 250th game in the Premier League, it was Liverpool who opened the scoring in the 21st minute when Adam Lallana found Jordan Henderson in the box. Lallana headed a ball toward Henderson who was making a run through the centre of the box and the Liverpool captain took a shot with his right foot to find the back of the net.
But West Brom equalised nine minutes later from a corner conceded by James Milner. Craig Dawson was on hand to take a shot with his left foot from point-blank range with Salomon Rondon grabbing the assist.
There was controversy late in the first half at Anfield when West Brom thought they had scored through Jonas Olsson but the linesman raised the flag for offside after a discussion with the referee. However, Olsson would soon get his goal in the second half with a header from a Chris Brunt corner near the six-yard box to find the bottom corner.
With eight minutes added on after Dejan Lovren was stretchered off for a knee injury, Pulis looked all set to celebrate a famous win. But Liverpool equalised when Divock Origi scored in the 96th minute to make it 2-2. It was a long range effort which was deflected off a defender and goalkeeper Boaz Myhill was rooted to the spot as he watched the ball loop up and sail into the bottom corner.Published 13 Dec 2015, 21:03 IST