London: Arsenal came out on top in the battle of the English Premier League title favourites as goals from Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud enabled them beat Manchester City 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium.
Leicester City will top the table at Christmas but Monday’s clash could be pivotal in the title race as second-placed Arsenal moved four points clear of third-placed City. Arsenal have 36 points from 17 matches while City have 32 and Leicester 38.
Walcott’s stunning effort – Arsenal’s first shot on target – lit up a cagey first period and Giroud neatly converted their second on the stroke of half-time to give the hosts a comfortable cushion.
Sergio Aguero could not find a breakthrough on his return to lead the City attack, lasting 63 minutes on his first outing in five fixtures.
Yaya Toure reduced the arrears with 10 minutes to go with an astonishing strike but City’s late charge fell flat and they have now not won any of their last five away fixtures in the league.
City host Sunderland on Boxing Day (December 26) before taking on Leicester two days later.