Arsenal back on pole; Liverpool held

Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League on Sunday when they beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium with both goals scored by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Arsenal will stay top at least until Monday’s match between  Manchester City, who they knocked off the summit, and third-placed Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium.

Arsenal have 55 points from 24 games, followed by City on 53 from 23 and Chelsea on 50 from 23.

Liverpool, who were held to a 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, are fourth with 47 points.

Palace, who have improved since Tony Pulis became manager at the end of November, remained just a point above the relegation zone.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, playing in central midfield rather than on the wing as usual, had a fine game in his first league start after returning from a long injury layoff.

He opened the scoring with a clever lofted shot after 47 minutes, his first goal of the season, and doubled Arsenal’s lead in the 73rd minute, firing home after a neat one-two with Olivier Giroud.

Oxlade-Chamberlain's last goal before this match came at the Maracana last June as England drew 2-2 with Brazil in Rio.

But the 20-year-old, who missed four months of the season with a knee injury, was the difference between Arsenal and Palace, and could yet be returning to Brazil in the summer as part of Roy Hodgsons World Cup squad.

A schoolboy howler by defender Kolo Toure cost Liverpool victory when he gifted West Brom the equaliser at The Hawthorns.

His mistake came after 67 minutes when, under no pressure, he played a loose ball straight across his own 18-yard (metre) line to substitute Victor Anichebe standing unmarked on the edge of the box, allowing the former Everton man to fire past Simon Mignolet.

Toure could only hold his head in his hands after his dreadful defending which enabled Albion to grab a point from the match Liverpool largely dominated.

Liverpool had gone ahead in the 24th minute after Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez linked up on the right of the penalty area with the Uruguayan crossing to the far post where Daniel Sturridge tapped home.

Sturridge has now scored seven goals in his last six successive Liverpool appearances either side of a nine-match injury absence.

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