Arsenal Extend Lead With West Ham Win, Newcastle Go 2nd After Leicester Rout
On Monday, Arsenal extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points after recovering from a goal down to beat West Ham United 3-1. Newcastle United moved into second place with a 3-0 away win over Leicester City, their sixth successive victory in the competition. Tottenham Hotspur managed to draw 2-2 with Brentford despite trailing for most of the game, while Liverpool got back on track with a 3-1 win over Aston Villa, with Bajcetic joining Salah and Van Dijk on the scoresheet.
Julen Lopetegui's Wolverhampton Wanderers started off on a positive note when they came from behind to defeat Everton 2-1 with a stoppage time goal from Rayan Ait-Nouri, placing additional pressure on Frank Lampard.
After the FIFA World Cup resulted in a 45-day hiatus, the Premier League resumed with plenty of players back from international duty, and Arsenal displayed the same level of quality as prior to the break.
The match took place at the Emirates Stadium, where former manager Arsene Wenger spectated from the stands. Arsenal, having been top of the table on Christmas Day for the first time in over a decade, responded to Said Benrahma's early penalty well.
Bukayo Saka's equalizer in the 53rd minute was soon followed by Gabriel Martinelli's shot in the 59th, which put Arsenal in the lead. Eddie Nketiah's goal further sealed the victory and maintained Arsenal's 100% home record.
They now have 40 points out of 15 games and remain 7 points ahead of 2nd place Newcastle United, who have played one more game. Compared to 3rd place Manchester City, the Gunners have an 8-point gap, although Manchester City have one fewer game to their name.
"We displayed a lot of patience and excellence," commented Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta. "We didn't begin in the way our opponents wanted us to, but we kept driving forward, having faith and deservedly clinched the victory."
Newcastle Remain Unbeatable
Joelinton, Miguel Almiron and Chris Wood all scored in the first-half for Newcastle, sparking hopes of their fans for a potential Champions League qualification. Manager Eddie Howe, who has been in charge since November after being taken over by a Saudi-backed consortium, said: "The season is still young enough for all possibilities to exist for us".
A nightmare start at Brentford was overcome by Tottenham, with Harry Kane and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg finding the net in the second half to cancel out Vitaly Janelt and Ivan Toney's earlier goals. It was Kane's first game since his missed penalty in the World Cup quarter-final against France, and he put in a memorable performance with a thumping header.
Liverpool then went sixth in the table with a comfortable victory over Aston Villa.
Salah opened the scoring for the visitors in the 5th minute following a marvelous passing combination from the adventurous full-backs Alexander-Arnold and Robertson. Van Dijk then struck with a wonderful left footed shot in the 37th minute, set up by Salah. Villa replied through Watkins but Bajcetic sealed Liverpool's third.
Fulham cruised to a 3-0 victory at Crystal Palace, who had two players sent off, meanwhile, Brighton & Hove Albion eased to a 3-1 success at Southampton, who sank to the bottom.