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Arsenal profits as Liverpool drops from top

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Saturday, December 28, 2013

LONDON - Liverpool slipped from first to fourth in the Premier League after losing 2-1 at Manchester City on Thursday, leaving Arsenal in first place following a frantic Boxing Day program.

Brendan Rodgers's Liverpool started the day in first place and it made an impressive start at the Etihad Stadium, Philippe Coutinho giving the visitors a 24th-minute lead after a neat team move.

However, City captain Vincent Kompany headed home an equaliser seven minutes later and Alvaro Negredo put the hosts in front on the stroke of half-time with a tame shot that Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet could only palm into the net. Earlier, Theo Walcott had scored twice as Arsenal came from behind to win 3-1 against West Ham United at Upton Park.

Arsenal spurned several first-half chances and it was punished early in the second period when Carlton Cole put the hosts in front after Wojciech Szczesny spilled a shot from Kevin Nolan.

However, Walcott struck twice in three minutes to turn the game around, before Lukas Podolski crowned his comeback from a hamstring injury with a low strike in the 79th minute.

Everton's hopes of making further ground on the Champions League contenders were thwarted, however, as it crashed to a 1-0 defeat at home to bottom club Sunderland.

Ki Sung-yueng scored from the penalty spot in the 25th minute, after Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard was sent off for a foul on the South Korea international.

It was Sunderland's first away win since April and left Gus Poyet's men three points from safety.

Manchester United doggedly overturned a two-goal deficit to win 3-2 at Hull City and register its fifth consecutive victory in all competitions.

Early goals from James Chester and David Meyler gave Hull a 2-0 lead, only for Chris Smalling and Wayne Rooney, with a sumptuous volley, to bring United level, before Chester scored a 66th-minute own goal.

Newcastle United closed to within three points of the Champions League places by coming from behind to overwhelm nine-man Stoke City 5-1 at St James' Park and Tottenham Hotspur's new permanent head coach Tim Sherwood saw his side draw 1-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion. Southampton, meanwhile, ended a run of six games without victory by winning 3-0 at Cardiff City through a Jay Rodriguez brace and a Rickie Lambert strike.