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Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea win 1-0; Christian Benteke ends goal drought

Arsenal FC beat Newcastle United 1-0 to end a three-game winless run in the Premier League after a strike by Mesut Ozil, while Chelsea football club beat Southampton by the same score after a goal from Marcos Alonso.

football Updated: Dec 16, 2017 23:44 IST
Agencies, London
Premier League,EPL,Arsenal FC
Arsenal FC's Mesut Ozil (centre) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Newcastle United in their Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium in London on Saturday.(AP)

With their title hopes relying on a Manchester City FC implosion, Arsenal FC and Chelsea football club are focused on a new objective of securing a top-four place.

Arsenal edged past Newcastle United 1-0 to end a three-game winless run in the Premier League after a fine strike by Mesut Ozil from the edge of the penalty area.

Chelsea beat Southampton by the same score after Marcos Alonso scored from a free kick for the third-place defending champions. Chelsea remained five points ahead of fourth-place Arsenal.

Manchester City, which has an 11-point lead over Manchester United, is in action in the late game at home to sixth-place Tottenham.

Burnley missed a chance to move into the top four when it was held 0-0 by Brighton.

Christian Benteke ended a 13-game goal drought for Crystal Palace in a 3-0 victory at Leicester. Huddersfield climbed to 11th in the 20-team standings approaching the midway point of its first Premier League campaign after winning 4-1 at Watford.

Alonso strike

Chelsea consolidated third place in the Premier League with a 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

Alonso scored the only goal of the game by curling a long-range free kick past goalkeeper Fraser Forster and into the bottom corner in the third minute of first-half injury time.

Chelsea dominated the match for long periods and would have won by a greater margin had Forster not made a string of impressive saves.

Southampton improved after sending on Charlie Austin for Manolo Gabbiadini in the second half but they were unable to snatch an equaliser.

The result extended a poor run of form for Mauricio Pellegrino’s side, who have now gone five matches without a win in the Premier League and have dropped to 12th in the standings.

Ozil magic

Arsenal returned to winning ways in unconvincing fashion as Mesut Ozil’s stunning volley gave them a 1-0 win over struggling Newcastle United.

The Gunners had failed to win in their last three league games but the visit of Newcastle side without a victory since October will have been viewed as a welcome one.

Most will have expected the floodgates to open when Ozil opened the scoring in magnificent fashion after 23 minutes.

But Arsenal struggled to put the game to bed as Newcastle produced the kind of battling performance their fans have wanted during a worrying slide down the table that has now seen them collect only one point from nine games.

The Magpies began the game just a point above the bottom three and their lack of reward for a commendable showing will do little ease to relegation fears.

For the Gunners, the result sees them avoid a vital slip up in the fight for the top four, though few will be convinced by the manner in which they emerged triumphant.

Newcastle offered something of an early threat as Jamaal Lascelles forced Petr Cech to turn behind from Mikel Merino’s free-kick.

Swift build-up play involving Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette was wasted at the other end as Alexis Sanchez rifled over the bar, before Ainsley Maitland-Niles sent a low drive narrowly wide.

But when the deadlock was broken it was done in some style.

Under pressure from Sanchez, Florian Lejeune was unable to clear his lines and his header sat up perfectly for Ozil to fire a stunning left-footed volley into the top corner from just inside the penalty area, leaving Elliot with no chance.

Granit Xhaka then drove an effort wide as Arsenal continued in the ascendancy, with Elliot required at the near post to deny Ozil a second before the break following a neat exchange with Lacazette.

The start of the second half saw Alex Iwobi almost profit from a ricochet that Elliot was unable to handle, but the Republic of Ireland international was able to gather the rebound.

Matt Ritchie was introduced from the substitutes’ and wasted a chance to level when he hit over from the edge of the area.

Jacob Murphy did significantly better as he drew a low save from Cech as the energy of Merino caused Arsenal problems.

Newcastle were then almost caught cold, however, Lacazette could not find the accuracy with his impudent attempt at a lobbed finish after Iwobi’s throughball.

Iwobi was forced off through injury for Arsenal before an entertaining finish to the contest saw Jack Wilshere draw a fine reaction save from Elliot, before Laurent Koscielny headed wide.

Newcastle forward Joselu then saw an effort deflect narrowly off target at the other end as Arsene Wenger’s men edged their way to a much-needed three points.

First Published: Dec 16, 2017 23:15 IST