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EPL: Gunners shoot their way to the top

Arsenal enjoyed an easy 2-0 victory at Aston Villa on Sunday to soar to the summit of the Premier League and leave its hapless opponent rooted at rock bottom.

A landmark 50th Premier League goal from Olivier Giroud, a penalty converted four days after his Champions League hat-trick against Olympiakos, swiftly brought more gloom to Villa Park after eight minutes.

Ozil’s 13th assist

Mesut Ozil then produced his 13th assist of the season to allow Aaron Ramsey to slot home a second goal in the 38th minute and enable Arsenal move on to 33 points, one clear of Manchester City and Leicester City.

Leicester has the chance to regain the leadership when it entertains Chelsea on Monday.

Villa improved in the second half as Arsenal took its foot off the gas but manager Remi Garde, who as a player was once signed by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, could only hear the grumbles of discontent as his side went a club-record 15th league game without a win.

The defeat left Villa stranded at the foot of the table on six points from 16 games, six adrift of 19th-placed Sunderland.

Newcastle climbs up

At White Hart Lane, Newcastle climbed out of the relegation zone by inflicting Tottenham’s first Premier League loss since the opening day of the season, coming from behind to clinch a 2-1 victory in the third minute of stoppage time.

Ayoze Perez beat Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris at his near post after fellow substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic had cancelled out Eric Dier’s first-half headed opener for Tottenham.

December started with Steve McClaren’s job appearing in jeopardy but the Newcastle coach has now masterminded victories over Liverpool and Tottenham in the space of a week.

Newcastle is now even above defending champion Chelsea, which sank to 16th place ahead of its game at Leicester on Monday.

Tottenham remained fifth as it missed a chance to dislodge Manchester United from fourth place.

Manchester United’s woeful week took another calamitous turn as little Bournemouth beat it 2-1, earning a second fairytale win in a week against another of the giants of English football.

The pressure will be multiplied further upon United manager Louis van Gaal following a midweek Champions League exit after goals from Junior Stanislas and former Old Trafford player Josh King consigned it to a famous defeat.

It meant unbridled joy for Bournemouth, the Premier League newcomers who have an annual turnover 40 times smaller than United’s. Last Saturday the team had breached the Stamford Bridge fortress of champion Chelsea, winning 1-0.

The results: On Sunday: Aston Villa 0 lost to Arsenal 2 (Giroud 8-pen, Ramsey 38); Liverpool 2 (Henderson 21, Origi 90+6) drew with West Brom 2 (Dawson 30, Olsson 73); Tottenham 1 (Dier 39) lost to Newcastle 2 (Mitrovic 74, Perez 90+3).

On Saturday: Bournemouth 2 (Stanislas 2, King 54) bt Manchester United 1 (Fellaini 24).

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