Cyprus Mail

Arsenal hit back to beat Stoke and move top

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil (centre) celebrates scoring their second goal with Theo Walcott and Nacho Monreal

Free-scoring Arsenal replaced Chelsea as Premier League leaders as goals either side of half-time by Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil helped them recover from a slow start to beat Stoke City 3-1 on Saturday.

A rash challenge by Granit Xhaka on Joe Allen gave Charlie Adam the chance to put Stoke ahead from the penalty spot after 29 minutes and the Scot dispatched his spot-kick with ease.

Arsenal raised their game and equalised three minutes before the break when Walcott stabbed in Hector Bellerin’s low cross.

Ozil’s looping header over stranded Stoke keeper Lee Grant put Arsenal ahead five minutes after the interval before substitute Alex Iwobi ran through to give Arsenal the two-goal victory they needed to top the table on goals scored.

Elsewhere, a Gylfi Sigurdsson penalty and a brace from Fernando Llorente gave Swansea City a 3-0 win over fellow strugglers Sunderland, relieving the pressure on manager Bob Bradley and sending the Black Cats to the bottom of the table.

Sigurdsson struck from the penalty spot in the 50th minute after a handball by Jason Denayer and he turned provider four minutes later, sliding a low corner into the box which Spaniard Llorente steered past goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

Llorente wrapped up the three points in the 80th minute when he headed in Jefferson Montero’s cross following an interception by the excellent Leon Britton, who was making his first appearance since the start of November.

The win was Swansea’s second under American Bradley, the favourite with British bookmakers to be the next Premier League manager to lose his job, and made it back-to-back victories at the Liberty Stadium for his team.

Alan Pardew’s 300th match as a Premier League manager ended in drama as Fraizer Campbell grabbed an 89th-minute equaliser in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Hull City that eased the pressure on the Crystal Palace boss.

In another of Palace’s see-saw classics, Hull had come from behind with goals from Adama Diomande (72 minutes) and Jake Livermore (78 minutes) and looking poised to earn the win that would have taken them out of the bottom three.

But it was former Hull striker Campbell who ensured manager Pardew could celebrate something from his landmark day as he finished off fine work from Wilfried Zaha, who had put Palace 2-1 ahead with a sensational 70th-minute strike.

Robert Snodgrass had put Palace ahead controversially after 27 minutes, scoring the penalty after appearing to dive in the box. He then gave away the second-half spot-kick, fouling Zaha, that allowed Christian Benteke to equalise.

Burnley meanwhile scored twice in the space of three first-half minutes to end a run of three straight defeats with a 3-2 home win against Bournemouth in the first Premier League meeting between the sides.

Promoted last season, Burnley had never lost to the Cherries at Turf Moor and they made a lively start to keep that record intact.

Jeff Hendrick unleashed a stunning half-volley from 25 metres in the 13th minute to open the scoring and Stephen Ward made it 2-0 three minutes later with his first league goal in more than four years.

Bournemouth, who beat Liverpool 4-3 on Sunday, put themselves back into the match when the unmarked Benik Afobe swept the ball past goalkeeper Tom Heaton two minutes into first-half stoppage time, but George Boyd made it 3-1 in the 75th.

Charlie Daniels reduced the gap again with a 91st-minute long-range strike past Heaton, after Afobe had an effort disallowed, but Burnley held on for their fifth home win of the season to go 13th, two places behind Bournemouth.

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