Premier League roundup: City and Chelsea left chasing as Arsenal go back to the top
The top spot in the Barclays Premier League changed three times over the course of the footballing weekend and on Monday night it would be Arsenal that would continue to lead the way. Wenger’s side were under pressure to win at Villa Park, following wins for Chelsea and Manchester City on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
Goals from Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres against Hull City had put Jose Mourinho’s side top of the league on Saturday afternoon, at least until Manchester City visited Newcastle on Sunday.
City won the game at St James’ Park in controversial fashion. An early goal from Eden Dzeko had the Citizens well on their way to another three points, but a harsh offside flag stopped Newcastle equalising, in what brought an ugly confrontation between Alan Pardew and Manuel Pellegrini.
Alvaro Negredo wrapped up the victory in the final minute as City left it in the hands of Arsenal to try and climb back to the summit of the Premier League on Monday night against Aston Villa.
With the title race gathering full steam, Arsene Wenger could afford no slip-ups against Paul Lambert’s young outfit and eventually took the lead in the 34th minute.
With the majority of play coming from Arsenal, Jack Wilshere slid home following a sumptuous move that involved the ever creative Mesut Ozil and left-back Nacho Monreal. The Gunners wasted little time in further chinking the armour of the Villa back line, as Olivier Giroud emphatically made it 2-0 straight from the restart.
The lead was fully deserved and more than complimentary of the 72% possession the north London side had enjoyed.
Out of form striker Christian Benteke had not scored for Villa in 14 hours and 45 minutes of football, but his fortunes would change as he gave the claret and blue a fighting chance in a game that had looked so one sided.
The Belgian powerhouse fired home a stooping header that offered a glimpse of hope for snatching a draw for Paul Lambert.
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert addressing BBC Sport:”In the second half we were excellent, we looked great and a real threat. We were lifted by the goal. It’s not easy playing Arsenal – they are title contenders but everybody can see we gave them a game.
“You have to give us credit. We came into it but we might have snuck a draw.”
Villa sit in 11th place five points clear of safety following defeat to top of the table Arsenal. Good news for defender Nathan Baker who suffered mild concussion despite first fears of a more serious injury.
Thomas Bradley, football correspondent
Sunday /Monday results
Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 2
Stoke 3 Liverpool 5