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Arsenal back on top

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Olivier Giroud ensured Arsenal will finish 2013 on top of the Premier League as his second half goal clinched a 1-0 win against Newcastle, while Chelsea kept the pressure on the leader with a 2-1 win over title rival Liverpool on Sunday.

Giroud’s first goal since November 23 was enough to give Arsenal its second successive win and move it one point ahead of second placed Manchester City heading into the new year.

Arsenal, which was without German playmaker Mesut Ozil, took the lead when France forward Giroud bagged his 11th goal of the season with a glancing header from Theo Walcott’s free-kick in the 65th minute.

At Stamford Bridge, Chelsea came from behind to win the weekend’s marquee match-up thanks to goals from Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto’o.

Jose Mourinho’s third placed team is now two points adrift of Arsenal and one behind City, with Liverpool slipping down to fifth spot.

Liverpool had made a dream start when Martin Skrtel bundled home from close-range after Chelsea failed to clear Phillipe Coutinho’s inswinging free-kick. But Brendan Rodgers’ side also took the lead and still lost to City on Boxing Day.

The results: Chelsea 2 (Hazard 18, Eto’o 34) bt Liverpool 1 (Skrtel 4); Everton 2 (Coleman 9, Lukaku 74) bt Southampton 1 (Ramirez 71); Newcastle 0 lost to Arsenal 1 (Giroud 65); Tottenham 3 (Soldado 37-pen, Dembele 65, Lennon 69) bt Stoke 0. — AFP

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