Laurent Koscielny sends Arsenal clear, Wayne Rooney lifts Manchester United

Koscielny stabbed home a flick-on from France team-mate Olivier Giroud in the 72nd minute at a rain-lashed Emirates Stadium and Leicester were held 0-0 by Bournemouth, with Riyad Mahrez squandering a penalty.

AFP| Updated: Jan 02, 2016, 22:58 PM IST
Laurent Koscielny sends Arsenal clear, Wayne Rooney lifts Manchester United

London: Laurent Koscielny scored as Arsenal edged Newcastle United 1-0 on Saturday to pull two points clear of Leicester City at the top of the Premier League table.

Koscielny stabbed home a flick-on from France team-mate Olivier Giroud in the 72nd minute at a rain-lashed Emirates Stadium and Leicester were held 0-0 by Bournemouth, with Riyad Mahrez squandering a penalty.

Manchester City, third, can close to within a point of Leicester if they win at Watford later on Saturday. Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney scored as Manchester United ended an eight-game winless run by beating Swansea City 2-1.

Arsenal were bidding to build on the 2-0 win over Bournemouth that had sent them top of the table, but Newcastle squandered several opportunities to go ahead.

Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech had to produce smart saves to thwart Giorginio Wijnaldum either side of half-time, while Aleksandar Mitrovic diverted a volleyed cross from Ayoze Perez over the bar from close range.

With the home fans growing restless, Koscielny supplied the breakthrough 18 minutes from time, sneaking in behind Perez to toe the ball past Rob Elliot after Giroud had got his head to a high ball.

Leicester have now gone three league games without winning after their stalemate against 10-man Bournemouth at the King Power Stadium.

Jamie Vardy hit the post in the first half and was then fouled by Simon Francis in an incident that saw the Bournemouth defender sent off and yielded Leicester`s 60th-minute penalty.

But for once this season Mahrez`s radar betrayed him, the Algerian`s penalty parried by Bournemouth goalkeeper Artur Boruc.At Old Trafford, Rooney scored a milestone winner against Swansea, which made him the second-highest outright goal-scorer in both Premier League (188 goals) and United (238) history.

Anthony Martial headed United in front from Ashley Young`s right-wing cross early in the second half, only for Gylfi Sigurdsson to draw Swansea level in the 70th minute from a Modou Barrow cross.

But Rooney converted a cut-back from Martial with a sumptuous near-post back-heel 13 minutes from time as United claimed a first win in seven league games to further ease the pressure on manager Louis van Gaal.

The result lifted United to fifth place, two points below Tottenham Hotspur, who visit Everton on Sunday.

West Ham United are a point back in sixth after Michael Antonio and Andy Carroll scored headed goals in a 2-0 home win over Liverpool.

Aston Villa spurned another chance to close on safety after losing 3-1 at second-bottom Sunderland, with Jermain Defoe scoring twice to leave Remi Garde`s side seven points adrift at the foot of the table.

Patrick van Aanholt put Sunderland in front with a deflected effort and Villa were momentarily level courtesy of a brilliant Carles Gil volley in the 63rd minute, only for Defoe to net twice in the last 18 minutes.

Jonny Evans`s stoppage-time goal earned West Bromwich Albion a last-gasp 2-1 win over Stoke City, who had Geoff Cameron sent off after an altercation with Claudio Yacob.

Kenyan midfielder Victor Wanyama was dismissed as Southampton went down 1-0 at Norwich City, where Alexander Tettey scored a 76th-minute winner.