Gunners cruise, Cats & Eagles win

Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League table after beating West Ham, while Chelsea, Sunderland, Crystal Palace and Fulham all won.

Last Updated: 26/12/13 at 17:35 Post Comment

Theo Walcott: Celebrates at Upton Park

Theo Walcott: Celebrates at Upton Park

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Fit-again England flyer Theo Walcott spared Arsenal's blushes at West Ham as Arsene Wenger's men came from behind to win 3-1 at Upton Park.

Walcott's two goals in Arsenal's 6-3 thrashing at Manchester City on December 14 had no effect on the result but at least announced his return to form as well as fitness after abdominal trouble.

But at West Ham his impact turned the game on its head, after the hosts stole a 1-0 second-half lead through striker Carlton Cole.

Cole prodded home after goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny failed to hold a straightforward shot on goal.

Arsenal hit back through Walcott though, who scored twice in three minutes to take his season's goal tally to five.

Lukas Podolski marked his return with a goal too, with Olivier Giroud claiming an assist.

Jay Rodriguez scored twice and set up a Rickie Lambert goal as Southampton heaped yet more misery on Cardiff manager Malky Mackay.

Mauricio Pochettino's Southampton swatted Mackay's men aside in Wales, top-scorer Rodriguez making the early inroads before Lambert completed a 3-0 drubbing.

Cardiff's fans started the day with a pre-match march against Vincent Tan, at the end of a week where the owner had relented from his decision to sack boss Mackay.

But the home fans left dejected, with Mackay staring down more scrutiny from owner Tan, after Southampton dominated and claimed deserved victory.

Loic Remy scored twice and missed a penalty as Newcastle overwhelmed nine-man Stoke 5-1 at St James' Park.

Remy's double and Yoan Gouffran's eighth league goal of the season helped the Magpies build on last weekend's 3-0 victory at Crystal Palace.

Yohan Cabaye notched a fourth from Mathieu Debuchy's assist, while Papiss Cisse scored his first goal in 10 games as the tie wound up a complete mismatch.

Stoke had Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson sent off in a frenetic first half, and those dismissals ultimately turned the game in Newcastle's favour.

The visitors took the lead when Oussama Assaidi slotted home, but Whelan picked up two yellow cards in the space of six minutes for Stoke's first dismissal.

Then Wilson produced a professional foul on Remy for his early bath, only for Remy to miss the resulting spot-kick.

Only moments later Frenchman Remy atoned for that miss, putting Newcastle back on level terms.

And after the break Alan Pardew's men were able to dismantle their denuded opponents.

Dwight Gayle's first goal in eight games stole a priceless Crystal Palace victory at Aston Villa.

The former Peterborough striker's brilliant last-minute effort secured a 1-0 win for Tony Pulis' side at the end of a gritty Villa Park contest.

Scott Parker's late strike, his second Premier League goal of the season, secured Fulham's second win in six league games at Norwich.

Rene Meulensteen's men came from behind to claim 2-1 victory at Carrow Road and leapfrog West Ham as they moved out of the relegation zone.

Gary Hooper's seventh league goal of the season and fourth in successive home games handed Norwich a 1-0 lead after 13 minutes.

But Pajtim Kasami placed a free-kick into the bottom right of the Norwich goal to bring Fulham back on terms just past the half-hour mark, leaving the scores locked at 1-1 at half-time.

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard's red card gifted Sunderland a 1-0 victory at Goodison Park.

The American stopper struggled to deal with Leon Osman's undersold back-pass, and paid the price when he tripped Black Cats midfielder Ki Sung-yueng.

Ki netted the resulting penalty, with Joel Robles unable to stop Sunderland taking the lead after replacing Osman.

And the visitors held out to grind to victory.

Jose Mourinho kept his promise to mix up selection for Chelsea's home clash against Swansea, restoring Ashley Cole at left-back.

And the England defender promptly repaid that call by laying on the pass that allowed Eden Hazard to score the decisive goal in a 1-0 victory.

Tottenham's first-half lead lasted just two minutes in Tim Sherwood's first match in full charge of Spurs.

Christian Eriksen's free-kick put the home side ahead but Spurs were pegged back by Jonas Olsson's goal after 38 minutes.

Spurs pushed and pushed after the break but could not find a winner, with the match ending in a 1-1 draw.

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Readers' Comments

I

may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Mike_Christie
Please Stop Telling Us What To Think

H

ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

TheWhiz
Wenger hails important win

I

s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

redbornandbred
De Gea's Europa League target

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