3 Dec 2023

Arsenal pull clear atop English Premier League standings

1:22 pm on 3 December 2023

Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal against Wolverhampton.

Gabriel Martinelli of Arsenal against Wolverhampton. Photo: photosport

Arsenal took the chance to open up a four-point lead at the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday and Newcastle beat Manchester United 1-0 to climb above them in the table.

Everton enjoyed their first win since being docked 10 points as they beat Nottingham Forest 1-0, while Burnley earned home points for the first time this season by hammering Sheffield United who ended the day rock bottom after a 5-0 thrashing.

Early goals by Bukayo Saka and Martin Odegaard put Arsenal in control against Wolves at The Emirates but Mikel Arteta's side had to withstand a late rally by the visitors.

Arsenal now hold their largest lead of the table since April when they were five clear of eventual champions Manchester City.

Arteta needs no reminding of how that title race panned out with his side ultimately collapsing, but they are again showing the consistency to sustain a long challenge.

Arsenal have 33 points from 14 games with City on 29 ahead of their home game against injury-hit Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday. Liverpool and Aston Villa, who have 28 points, are also in action on Sunday against Fulham and Bournemouth.

"It's been a good week with some good results. We're there at the top and we have to keep improving and keep pushing," Arsenal skipper Odegaard said. "The schedule is tough, but almost the whole season is tough."

Newcastle dominate

Anthony Gordon scored the only goal in Newcastle's deserved 1-0 victory over Manchester United that propelled them up to fifth in the table on 26 points.

The Red Devils fell to seventh after a lacklustre performance from the visitors until the final desperate minutes.

It marked the first time since January 1922 the Magpies have won three consecutive games in all competitions against Manchester United.

Newcastle's victory capped a solid eight days that saw them beat Chelsea 4-1 and then draw 1-1 with Paris St Germain in the Champions League.

"I couldn't be happier with the players tonight," manager Eddie Howe told TNT Sports. "The performances we put in against three top teams were brilliant so that will give confidence, and when we get some players back we can push on even further."

Gordon netted his sixth league goal this season in the second half, with a simple finish at the far post from a Kieran Trippier cross after United's defence switched off.

Everton win

By the time Everton kicked off at the City Ground, they were bottom -- courtesy of Burnley's win and the 10-point sanction for breaking Premier League financial sustainability rules.

Sean Dyche's team responded with a battling victory secured by Dwight McNeil's powerful finish in the 67th minute and resolute defending as Forest threw everything into attack.

"Our mentality was excellent," Dyche told the BBC. "It's a restart. It's a step in the right direction, but there are plenty more steps to go.

"I think we're having a solid season. Seventeen points would have been a fairly healthy return. Of course it's changed, but the mentality and the performance levels are right."

Burnley could hardly have had a better opportunity to register their first points at Turf Moor since gaining promotion and they took it in emphatic fashion, their 5-0 win the joint best by a side starting the day bottom of the Premier League.

Vincent Kompany's side, the only one in the top four divisions without a home point, needed only 15 seconds to take the lead as Charlie Taylor's cross was glanced in by Jay Rodriguez. Jacob Bruun Larsen made it 2-0 before Sheffield United's Oli McBurnie was sent off on the stroke of halftime after his second yellow card for an elbow.

Zeki Amdouni and Luca Koleosho stretched Burnley's lead after the break and Josh Brownhill completed their biggest-ever Premier League win.

"The lads deserve all the credit they can get. It's not been a one-off. We've had performances like that this season," Kompany told Sky Sports.

Brentford bounced back from their defeat by Arsenal to beat Luton Town 3-1 at home to move 10th -- all the goals coming in the second half.

French striker Neal Maupay broke the ice on a freezing day in the capital by sweeping home from close range in the 49th minute. Ben Mee headed in from a corner in the 56th minute and although Luton pulled a goal back through Jacob Brown, Brentford's Shandon Baptiste made sure of the win.

Defeat left Luton in 17th place on nine points, two clear of the drop zone. Everton climbed to 18th place with seven points, above Burnley on goal difference, and Sheffield United have five points.

- Reuters