Published January 08, 2015
London, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Olivier Giroud netted a first-half brace as Arsenal came up with a spectacular bounce-back performance on Saturday with a 4-1 thrashing of Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium.
Coming off a 2-0 loss at home to defending European champions Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday, the Gunners needed to erase the memory of that performance and they did that quickly on Saturday as Giroud gave his side the lead just five minutes in.
Just past the half-hour mark, Giroud buried his second of the day after he collected a through ball on the left side of the penalty area and slotted it past Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Manonne.
Tomas Rosicky made it 3-0 for the Gunners three minutes prior to the break and defender Laurent Koscielny put an exclamation point on the performance with a goal in the 57th minute to seal the points.
Sunderland fans did find something to cheer about nine minutes from time when Emanuele Giaccherini blasted an exceptional strike past Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny from well outside the penalty area. But the Black Cats attention was already on next Sunday's League Cup final against Manchester City.
The result sees Arsenal remain one point behind Chelsea for the top spot in the Premiership, while Sunderland remains in 18th place on 24 points.
Chelsea 1, Everton 0
London, England - Chelsea left it late on Saturday as a John Terry goal in the third minute of stoppage time propelled the Blues to a 1-0 victory over Everton at Stamford Bridge.
Coming off a 2-1 defeat to Manchester City in the FA Cup last weekend, Joe Mourinho's club came out on the front foot and had the better of the play for most of the match, putting eight shots on target.
Everton's defense held firm and looked to have done the job to sneak away with a point as the clock approached the 90th minute. But the Blues snatched it away when Frank Lampard whipped a free kick into the penalty area that was directed home by the boot of captain Terry.
The result keeps Chelsea at the top of the Premiership table with 60 points, one clear of second-place Arsenal, while Everton remains on 45 points, eight back of Liverpool for the final Champions League spot.
Manchester United 2, Crystal Palace 0
London, England - With the ink still drying on his new contract, Wayne Rooney scored a spectacular second-half goal on Saturday as Manchester United earned a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Rooney, 28 signed a new deal with the Red Devils on Friday that made him the highest paid player in the history of the Premier League, but it was his strike partner Robin Van Persie who opened the scoring for the defending champions when he converted a penalty kick in the 62nd minute.
Rooney then made it 2-0 six minutes later when he smashed one past Crystal Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni with a stunning volley, showing why he is cornerstone of the squad for the foreseeable future.
Palace's chances were few and far between as the result sees the Red Devils close to within eight points of Liverpool for fourth place, while the Eagles remain in 15th place with 26 points.
Hull City 4, Cardiff City 0
Cardiff, Wales - Nikica Jelavic scored on either side of the intermission on Saturday as Hull City rolled to a 4-0 thrashing of Cardiff City at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Hull City was on the front foot from the outset and former Tottenham man Tom Huddlestone opened the scoring with a goal in the 18th minute and Jelavic potted his first of the day 20 minutes later to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead at the interval.
Hull City kept rolling in the second half as Jelavic completed his double in the 57th minute and another Tottenham loanee Jake Livermore added a fourth goal 10 minutes later to wrap up the points for the visitors.
Manchester City 1, Stoke City 0
Manchester, England - Yaya Toure's strike 20 minutes from time was enough to lift Manchester City to a 1-0 victory over Stoke City on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium.
After a disappointing 2-0 loss to Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday, the Citizens were in need of a rebound performance. City was on the front foot all afternoon, peppering the Stoke City net with 19 attempts, seven on target.
But Stoke's back line held firm until the 70th minute when City finally broke through with some set-piece magic as Toure turned home a cross from Aleksandar Kolarov.
The Potters tried to answer back, but only mustered two shots on target en route to its 12th league defeat of the campaign.
West Bromwich 1, Fulham 1
West Bromwich, England - Matej Vydra's goal four minutes from time rescued an important point for West Bromwich Albion on Saturday in a 1-1 draw with Fulham at The Hawthorns.
In a match with massive relegation implications, Ashkan Dejagah put Felix Magath's club ahead in the 28th minute. Fulham played some inspired defense hoping to sneak away with a huge road victory, but it came undone in the 86th minute when Victor Anichebe found Vydra alone in the box for the goal.
The result keeps the Baggies out of the relegation zone on goal difference, while the Cottagers remain at the foot of the table with 22 points, three from safety.
West Ham 3, Southampton 1
London, England - West Ham United earned a fourth consecutive victory in Premier League play on Saturday after a 3-1 result over Southampton at Upton Park.
Just a few weeks ago, West Ham was battling to stay out of the bottom three, but their four straight wins sees the club all the way up to 10th place in the table.
It was a difficult start for the Hammers, however, as Maya Yoshida gave Southampton the lead after just eight minutes. West Ham then rallied for three unanswered goals as Matthew Jarvis, Carlton Cole and Kevin Nolan all found the back of the net to secure an important three points.
The result sees Southampton remain in eighth place on 39 points.