Walcott fires Gunners back to the top

Theo Walcott’s second brace in 12 days took Arsenal back to the top of the Barclays Premier League, at least temporarily.

Fit-again England flyer Walcott spared Arsenal’s blushes at West Ham as Arsene Wenger’s men came from behind to win 3-1 at Upton Park.

Walcott’s two goals in Arsenal’s 6-3 thrashing at Manchester City on December 14 had no effect on the result but at least announced his return to form as well as fitness after abdominal trouble.

But at West Ham his impact turned the game on its head, after the hosts stole a 1-0 second-half lead through striker Carlton Cole.

Walcott fires Gunners back to the top

Cole prodded home after goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny failed to hold a straightforward shot on goal.

Arsenal hit back through Walcott though, who scored twice in three minutes to take his season’s goal tally to five.

Lukas Podolski marked his return with a goal too, with Olivier Giroud claiming an assist.

The Gunners moved back to the top of the table, at least until the outcome of Saturday night’s clash between fellow title contenders Manchester City and Liverpool is known. The Reds would regain top spot with victory.

Jay Rodriguez scored twice and set up a Rickie Lambert goal as Southampton heaped yet more misery on Cardiff manager Malky Mackay.

Walcott fires Gunners back to the top

Mauricio Pochettino’s Southampton swatted Mackay’s men aside in Wales, top-scorer Rodriguez making the early inroads before Lambert completed a 3-0 drubbing.

Cardiff’s fans started the day with a pre-match march against Vincent Tan, at the end of a week where the owner had relented from his decision to sack boss Mackay.

But the home fans left dejected, with Mackay staring down more scrutiny from owner Tan, after Southampton dominated and claimed deserved victory.

Loic Remy scored twice and missed a penalty as Newcastle overwhelmed nine-man Stoke 5-1 at St James’ Park.

Walcott fires Gunners back to the top

Remy’s double and Yoan Gouffran’s eighth league goal of the season helped the Magpies build on last weekend’s 3-0 victory at Crystal Palace.

Walcott fires Gunners back to the top

Yohan Cabaye notched a fourth from Mathieu Debuchy’s assist, while Papiss Cisse scored his first goal in 10 games as the tie wound up a complete mismatch.

Stoke had Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson sent off in a frenetic first half, and those dismissals ultimately turned the game in Newcastle’s favour.

The visitors took the lead when Oussama Assaidi slotted home, but Whelan picked up two yellow cards in the space of six minutes for Stoke’s first dismissal.

Then Wilson produced a professional foul on Remy for his early bath, only for Remy to miss the resulting spot-kick.

Only moments later Frenchman Remy atoned for that miss, putting Newcastle back on level terms.

And after the break Alan Pardew’s men were able to dismantle their denuded opponents.

Dwight Gayle’s first goal in eight games stole a priceless Crystal Palace victory at Aston Villa.

Walcott fires Gunners back to the top

The former Peterborough striker’s brilliant last-minute effort secured a 1-0 win for Tony Pulis’ side at the end of a gritty Villa Park contest.

Scott Parker’s late strike, his second Premier League goal of the season, secured Fulham’s second win in six league games at Norwich.

Walcott fires Gunners back to the top

Rene Meulensteen’s men came from behind to claim 2-1 victory at Carrow Road and leapfrog West Ham as they moved out of the relegation zone.

Gary Hooper’s seventh league goal of the season and fourth in successive home games handed Norwich a 1-0 lead after 13 minutes.

But Pajtim Kasami placed a free-kick into the bottom right of the Norwich goal to bring Fulham back on terms just past the half-hour mark, leaving the scores locked at 1-1 at half-time.

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard’s red card gifted Sunderland a 1-0 victory at Goodison Park.

Walcott fires Gunners back to the top

The American stopper struggled to deal with Leon Osman’s undersold back-pass, and paid the price when he tripped Black Cats midfielder Ki Sung-yueng.

Ki netted the resulting penalty, with Joel Robles unable to stop Sunderland taking the lead after replacing Osman.

And the visitors held out to grind to victory.

Jose Mourinho kept his promise to mix up selection for Chelsea’s home clash against Swansea, restoring Ashley Cole at left-back.

Walcott fires Gunners back to the top

And the England defender promptly repaid that call by laying on the pass that allowed Eden Hazard to score the decisive goal in a 1-0 victory.

Tottenham’s first-half lead lasted just two minutes in Tim Sherwood’s first match in full charge of Spurs.

Christian Eriksen’s free-kick put the home side ahead but Spurs were pegged back by Jonas Olsson’s goal after 38 minutes.

Walcott fires Gunners back to the top

Spurs pushed and pushed after the break but could not find a winner, with the match ending in a 1-1 draw.

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