English Premiership

Arsenal return to summit

2014-01-14 00:36
Jack Wilshere (AFP)

London - Arsenal have swept back to the top of the Premier League as two goals in the space of 60 seconds clinched a 2-1 win at Aston Villa on Monday.

Arsene Wenger's side had slipped down to third after title rivals Chelsea and then Manchester City took turns at the top over the weekend.

But Arsenal reclaimed pole position, moving one point clear of second placed City, thanks to a quick-fire double at Villa Park.

England midfielder Jack Wilshere opened the scoring in the 34th minute with a cool finish from Nacho Monreal's pass.

And the Gunners struck again less than one minute later when France striker Olivier Giroud showed great technique to control Wilshere's pass and fire past Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan for his 12th goal of the season

Christian Benteke reduced the deficit with a diving header in the 76th minute, but the Villa striker's first goal since September came too late to spark a fightback from the hosts.

A bad night for Villa was capped by an injury to Nathan Baker that saw the young defender taken to hospital with a mild concussion after being stretchered off wearing an oxygen mask.

Wenger was impressed with Arsenal's spirited display against a Villa side who finished strongly.

"It was vital because the first half was more about playing, and the second half was more about fighting," he said.

"They made it very physical, put the ball up high in the air and we had a very good resilient performance in the second half. Overall we have shown again both sides of the game."

Asked how he rated Arsenal's title chances, Wenger added: "Let's take care of our performances, we have got to go forward and always get the points.

"Then we can see if we can make a difference with the other teams."

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Fixtures
30 August 2014
Burnley v Manchester United, Turf Moor 13:45
West Ham United v Southampton, Boleyn Ground 16:00
Manchester City v Stoke City, Etihad Stadium 16:00
Swansea City v West Bromwich Albion, Liberty Stadium 16:00
Queens Park Rangers v Sunderland, Loftus Road Stadium 16:00
Newcastle United v Crystal Palace, St. James' Park 16:00
Everton v Chelsea, Goodison Park 18:30
31 August 2014
Aston Villa v Hull City, Villa Park 14:30
Tottenham Hotspur v Liverpool, White Hart Lane 14:30
Leicester City v Arsenal, King Power Stadium 17:00
13 September 2014
Arsenal v Manchester City, Emirates Stadium 13:45
Stoke City v Leicester City, Britannia Stadium 16:00
Crystal Palace v Burnley, Selhurst Park 16:00
Southampton v Newcastle United, St. Mary's Stadium 16:00
Sunderland v Tottenham Hotspur, Stadium of Light 16:00
Chelsea v Swansea City, Stamford Bridge 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Everton, The Hawthorns 16:00
Liverpool v Aston Villa, Anfield 18:30
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