2012 ended with aplomb in the Premier League as 35 goals were scored across eight matches on an entertaining and enthralling day for the neutrals.
Theo Walcott, enjoying his new role of a central striker, scored a hat-trick as Arsenal ran riot to defeat Newcastle in a remarkable game that finished 7-3 to the Gunners. It was the highest scoring meeting in the history of the two sides.
Walcott started and completed the scoring in a performance which will act as a keen reminder to Arsenal’s manager of just how important the youngster can be.
Newcastle came from behind three times with goals from Sylvain Marveaux and a brace from Demba Ba before Arsenal ran riot late on.
Walcott, Lukas and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had put Arsene Wenger’s side ahead, but it was a brace of goals late on from substitute Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott which end Arsenal’s year on a high.
Meanwhile problems continue for Newcastle who have now conceded 11 in their past two Premier League matches. A win for Arsenal, however, moves them up to 5th place and keeps them in contention for the coveted 4th Champions League spot.
Manchester City kept up the pressure on title rivals Manchester United with victory over Norwich City in a seven goal thriller at Carrow Road.
In an action packed affair, Edin Dzeko had put City two goals up in the first four minutes before Anthony Pilkington scored a free kick. Norwich’s fourth goal from a free-kick, the second highest in the premier league so far.
The Blues had to hold off a comeback from Norwich with ten men, when Samir Nasri received his first red card in English football for violent conduct just before the half time interval.
Despite two goals from captain for the day Russell Martin, the champions proved too strong. Goals from Aguero and a Mark Bunn own goal, gave them a valuable 4-3 victory.
Manchester United maintained a seven point lead at the top of the Premier League after a hard thought victory over West Brom.
An own goal from Gareth McAuley and a late Robin Van Persie strike gave United the three points.
It was a much changed United side, who were without injured Wayne Rooney, and the rested Robin Van Persie only on the bench. Shinji Kagawa did make a return to the United side in his first appearance since late October due to a knee injury.
In the early kick off, Tottenham Hotspur moved into third place in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland went ahead from an unlikely source, when John O’Shea tapped in for his first goal for the club.
However the joy was short-lived as Spurs turned things around just seven minutes into the second half.
An own goal from Carlos Cuellar and a good individual goal from Aaron Lennon completed the turn around and maintained Tottenham’s record of scoring in every Premier League away game this season.
The main talking point of the game, however, was Gareth Bale’s third caution of the season for simulation, and his fifth overall, meaning he will miss Spurs’ game against Reading on New Year’s day.
Aston Villa continued their poor recent form with a disappointing 3-0 defeat at the hand of Wigan at Villa Park. It is now 15 goals conceded in three games for Paul Lamberts side, who fall to 17th place.
Goals from Ramis, Boyce and Kone condemned Villa to their third straight defeat.
Stoke City scored a spectacular injury time equaliser to deny Southampton a valuable victory. With the score poised at 2-3, Cameron Jerome hit a fierce 30 yard volley to break saints hearts.
Steven Nzonzi received his marching orders for a bad challenge with the score line at 2-3, but it wasn’t to hinder Stoke as Jerome cancelled out earlier goals from Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez and an Andy Wilkinson own goal.
Pressure continues to grown on Fulham boss Martin Jol, after Swansea came away 2-1 winners at Craven Cottage. Danny Graham, returning to the starting 11, put Swansea ahead before a goalkeeping mistake from David Stockdale gifted Swansea a second through Jonathon De Guzman.
Bryan Ruiz did pull a goal back for Fulham, but Swansea held on despite a disallowed goal for Dimitar Berbatov late on to move up to ninth in the Premier League.
Finally, Reading claimed a vital win, after Pavel Pogrebnyak’s goal was enough to see off the challenge of West Ham at the Madejski. The win still leaves ‘The Royals’ five points adrift of safety.