Giroud scores for Arsenal as they beat Newcastle 1-0 to go top
London, 29 December
Chelsea demonstrated their Premier League championship credentials by coming from behind to beat title rivals Liverpool 2-1 in an engaging and keenly contested game at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Martin Skrtel gave Liverpool a third-minute lead, but Chelsea hit back before half-time through Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto’o to give manager Jose Mourinho victory over his former protege Brendan Rodgers.
Having led the league on Christmas Day, Liverpool will finish the year in fifth place, six points below leaders Arsenal, with Chelsea two points off the pace in third place behind Manchester City.
Beaten 2-1 by City on Boxing Day, Liverpool have now lost successive league games for the first time since April 2012, while top scorer Luis Suarez has gone two games without scoring after amassing 10 in his previous four outings.
The game marked the first meeting between Suarez and Branislav Ivanovic since the Liverpool striker was banned for biting the Chelsea defender last season, and the Liverpool man came out on top in their first duel.
After Samuel Eto’o caught Jordan Henderson with a high challenge on the Liverpool left, Philippe Coutinho curled in a free-kick and Suarez got in front of Ivanovic to knock the ball down for Skrtel to prod home. Chelsea, for whom John Terry was making his 600th appearance, were quick to respond, with Glen Johnson hacking off the line to prevent Skrtel scoring an own goal and Gary Cahill heading wide from a free-kick. Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet then produced a stunning one-handed save to tip over a shot from Frank Lampard, but in the 17th minute the hosts drew level. A sharp Chelsea counter-attack culminated in Mamadou Sakho inadvertently diverting a pass from Oscar into the path of Hazard, who swept a magisterial first-time shot inside the right-hand post from 20 yards.
Meanwhile, Olivier Giroud ensured that Arsenal will finish the year at the top of 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.
Arsenal overtook Manchester City to regain top spot in the Premier League with 42 points from 19 matches, with City trailing one point behind.The hosts missed a chance to level the score in added time when Hatem Ben Arfa fired a shot wide.
Scores: Arsenal 1-0 Newcastle, Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool, Everton 2-1 Southampton, Tottenham 3-0 Stoke City.