Arsenal go into the New Year top of the Premier League table after beating Newcastle 1-0 at St James’s Park.

Newcastle were more than Arsenal’s match in the first half and although chances were few and far between, the game made for an interesting tactical battle.

The pick of the chances fell to Alan Pardew’s side at the end of the first half when Moussa Sissoko drilled a ball toward the top left corner, only to be saved by Arsenal keeper SzczÄ™sny. The resulting corner led to a header from Ashley Williams hitting the bar, with the ball finally getting cleared off the line by Jack Wilshere.

Arsenal struck after half-time when Olivier Giroud got the lightest touches on a Theo Walcott free-kick, which made its way through the mass of bodies in the Newcastle area, past Tim Krul and into the back of the net.

Arsene Wenger’s side piled on the pressure and almost grabbed a second when Theo Walcott went through on goal, missing the first shot but his delicate chip nearly made it into the back of the net. Mathieu Debuchy was the only thing standing between Arsenal and a 2-0 win, clearing the ball of the line in dramatic fashion.

The Magpies impressed all match and were unfortunate not to get a goal when Loic Remy deflected a Szczesny clearance straight back at the keeper, but the ball dribbled just wide of the post.

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