Rare Giroud goal puts Arsenal back on top

It was his first goal in nearly 500 minutes.

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IT HAD BEEN 499 minutes since Olivier Giroud found the net for Arsenal but he snuck behind the Newcastle defence today to ensure his side finish 2013 on top of the Barclay’s Premier League.

It was the Frenchman’s first goal since November 23  and was enough to give Arsenal their second successive win and move them one point ahead of second placed City heading into the new year.

Arsenal, who will be without Mesut Ozil for the “two or three” games, were under pressure early on and Wojciech Szczesny had to tip over Moussa Sissoko’s effort, while Mathieu Debuchy’s header hit the crossbar from the resulting corner.

But France forward Giroud bagged his 11th goal of the season with a glancing header from Theo Walcott’s free-kick in the 65th minute.

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Wenger’s team then survived a late barrage of Newcastle pressure, with Loic Remy coming closest to an equaliser when Szczesny’s clearance cannoned into his face and rebounded just wide.

Additional reporting from AFP.

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