Arsenal regains top spot in Premier League

Olivier Giroud ensured that Arsenal will finish the year atop

the Premier League standings by scoring the winner for the Gunners

in a 1-0 win at Newcastle on Sunday.

The France striker ended a run of seven matches without a goal

when he broke the deadlock with a header from Theo Walcott’s free

kick in the 65th minute. It was Giroud’s 11th goal this season.

Arsenal overtook Manchester City to regain top spot in the

Premier League with 42 points from 19 matches, with City trailing

one point behind.

”There was a big satisfaction because we surprised many people

and we want to go from there, we played two away games and got six

points against West Ham and Newcastle and as you can see the team

is ready for a fight,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. ”Let’s

keep fighting and trying to develop the team.”

In a scrappy encounter with few chances for both sides, the

hosts missed an opportunity to level the score in added time when

Hatem Ben Arfa fired a shot wide.

Mesut Ozil missed the game with a shoulder injury, and Arsenal

manager Arsene Wenger said he expects the Germany midfielder to be

out for Wednesday’s game against Cardiff as well.

Wenger’s team enjoyed long periods of possession and created

several chances early on but was unable to convert them before

Newcastle almost went ahead toward the end of the first half when

Moussa Sissoko’s shot was tipped over by Wojciech Szczesny. Mathieu

Debuchy also headed against the bar.

Giroud had a chance to double the lead when Walcott’s lob from

close range was saved by Debuchy but the Frenchman failed to

connect properly with the loose ball.

Newcastle pushed forward toward the end but Alan Pardew’s team

slipped to just its second loss in 10 Premier League matches.

”We certainly didn’t deserve to get beat but a mistake cost us

at a set play, and we then had some moments at the end but we have

come out with our confidence renewed even though we have lost,”

Pardew said.