Arsenal fights back to extend league lead to 7 points

Dec 26, 2022, 1:12 AM | Updated: 3:17 pm
Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah, center, celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the English ...

Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah, center, celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and West Ham United at Emirates stadium in London, Monday, Dec. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/David Cliff)

(AP Photo/David Cliff)

              Brighton's Solly March, centre, celebrates with his team mates after scoring his sides third goal of the game during the Premier League soccer match between Southampton and Brighton, at St. Mary's Stadium in Southampton, England, Monday Dec. 26, 2022. (Adam Davy/PA via AP)
            
              Wolverhampton Wanderers' scorer Rayan Ait-Nouri, left, and his teammates celebrate after the Premier League soccer match between FC Everton and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Monday, Dec. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
            
              A minute of silence for the late English professional soccer player George Cohen before the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Monday, Dec. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
            
              Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrovic celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game, during the English Premier League soccer match between Crystal Palace and Fulham, at Selhurst Park, London, Monday, Dec. 26, 2022. (Zac Goodwin/PA via AP)
            
              Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe following the English Premier League soccer match between Newcastle United and Leicester City at the King Power Stadium, in Leicester, England, Monday Dec. 26, 2022. (Mike Egerton/PA via AP)
            
              Tottenham's Harry Kane, right, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Brentford and Tottenham Hotspur at the Gtech Community Stadium in London, Monday, Dec. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
            
              Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Liverpool at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Monday, Dec. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
            
              Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah, center, celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and West Ham United at Emirates stadium in London, Monday, Dec. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/David Cliff)

LONDON (AP) — Arsenal showed how to fight back on Boxing Day, traditionally a busy time in English soccer, by beating West Ham 3-1 to stretch its lead at the top of the Premier League to seven points.

Newcastle moved second with a 3-0 win at Leicester on Monday, pushing defending champion Manchester City down to third.

Said Benrahma’s 27th-minute penalty kick gave David Moyes’ West Ham a 1-0 lead at halftime after the Gunners had a spot kick disallowed by VAR on the stroke of the interval.

But Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta saw his team move up through the gears after the break with Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli scoring with fine finishes at the start of the second period.

Eddie Nketiah sealed the victory in front of former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger by finishing off a slick move to fill the void of the injured Gabriel Jesus and earn Arsenal a 10th straight home win in the Premier League.

Chris Wood’s penalty and a sublime strike by Miguel Almiron put Newcastle 2-0 up against Leicester after only seven minutes, with Joelinton adding a third just after the half-hour mark for the Magpies’ sixth straight league win.

Man City, which visits Leeds on Wednesday, trails Newcastle by one point but has played two fewer games.

The seven games Monday were the first in the Premier League in more than a month because of the long break for the World Cup in Qatar.

KANE SCORES

Harry Kane, who returned to the Premier League after missing a penalty in England’s World Cup quarterfinal loss to France two weeks ago, scored a goal to help fourth-place Tottenham come back from a two-goal deficit in a 2-2 draw with Brentford.

Kane shrugged off chants of “You let your country down” from a section of the Brentford fans. He headed in a cross from Clement Lenglet in the 65th. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg equalized six minutes later for Tottenham.

Vitaly Janelt and Ivan Toney scored for Brentford.

LIVERPOOL WINS AGAIN

Liverpool beat Aston Villa 3-1 for its third straight league win and stayed sixth, a point behind Manchester United. Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk struck in the first half at Villa Park before Stefan Bajcetic scored near the end of the second.

Liverpool’s third straight victory moved the club five points adrift of the Champions League spots.

“We have to be the pain in the backside for everyone,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said. “We are not in the best position, there is distance between us and other teams, we know that. The first two or three are maybe too far away. If they win all their games we have no chance.”

In other games, Wolverhampton manager Julen Lopetegui marked his Premier League debut with a dramatic stoppage-time 2-1 win at Everton. The defeat ramped up the pressure on Everton coach Frank Lampard. Substitute Rayan Ait-Nouri scored on the counterattack in the fifth minute of added time. Wolves moved off the bottom of the table and within a point of 17th-place Everton.

Brighton beat struggling Southampton 3-1 at St. Mary’s and trails Liverpool by one point. Southampton lost its fourth straight league game and dropped to last place.

Fulham won a Premier League derby in the capital for only the second time in 29 attempts with a 3-0 victory at nine-man Crystal Palace. Bobby Decordova-Reid, Tim Ream and Aleksandar Mitrovic scored for the visitors while Tyrick Mitchell and James Tomkins were sent off for the hosts.

Fulham manager Marco Silva dedicated the win to George Cohen, the club’s 1966 World Cup-winning England right back who died on Friday.

TUESDAY’S GAMES

Manchester United plays Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford on Tuesday, with ninth-place Chelsea hosting Bournemouth.

___

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Arsenal fights back to extend league lead to 7 points