It took until the 65th minute at St. James' Park on Dec. 29, but thanks to a header from Olivier Giroud, Arsenal got on the board against Newcastle and held on for a 1-0 victory. The win propelled the Gunners back to the top of the Premier League table.
With the Citizens having already defended the Etihad pitch with a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, the Gunners needed the full three points to get to 42 on the season and retake the top spot. Manchester City is second with 41.
That is how the standings will look as we take out 2013. Matchday 20 takes place on Jan. 1. The Citizens will hit the road to take on Swansea, and the Gunners will host Cardiff City.
Below, I have the final standings for the year, the schedule, my predictions for Matchday 20 and a more in-depth look at three of the week's more intriguing matchups.
|Premier League Week 20 Fixtures|
|Wednesday, Jan. 1|
|4:45 p.m./9:45 p.m.||Swansea||1-2||Manchester City|
|7 a.m./12 p.m.||Arsenal||2-0||Cardiff|
|7 a.m./12 p.m.||Fulham||1-0||West Ham|
|7 a.m./12 p.m.||Liverpool||3-1||Hull|
|7 a.m./12 p.m.||Southampton||0-1||Chelsea|
|7 a.m./12 p.m.||Stoke||0-1||Everton|
|7 a.m./12 p.m.||Sunderland||1-2||Aston Villa|
|7 a.m./12 p.m.||West Brom||1-1||Newcastle|
|9:30 a.m./2:30 p.m.||Manchester Untied||3-1||Tottenham|
|Premier League Table|
Southampton vs. Chelsea
Chelsea will enter this match with some strong momentum after taking down Liverpool, 2-1, at Stamford Bridge in Matchday 19. The Blues will attempt to follow up that performance by travelling to take on Southampton.
The Blues have not been great away from home this season. They are 3-3-3 as the away team in Premier League action this season.
Southampton will carry a 4-3-2 home league record into this match, and they have allowed just nine goals at home this season.
That defense will make life tough on the Blues. Chelsea's attack has been inconsistent this season, and they have just four combined goals in their last four matches in all competitions.
Of course, Chelsea may only need one goal to walk away with three points from this match. Southampton have scored 26 goals this season, and Chelsea has allowed the second-fewest goals in the EPL with 19.
Chelsea will use their stifling defense to pull out the win.
Prediction: Southampton 1-0 Chelsea
Stoke vs. Everton
Following their shock loss to Sunderland in Week 18, Everton got their surprise season back on track with a 2-1 win over Southampton this week.
Now Everton will head towards Britannia Stadium for a matchup with Stoke City.
Stoke have been solid at home this year by posting a 4-4-1 home record in league play. They've found their success by focusing on possession and keeping the score down. At home this league year, Stoke have netted 10 goals and allowed just six.
This sets up for a match that isn't going to see a lot of scoring...or even shots.
In their nine away matches in EPL play this season, Everton have scored 12 goals and allowed nine.
Everton have been playing consistent and sound soccer. As long as goalkeeper Tim Howard can avoid a red card, like the one he suffered in the loss to Sunderland, Everton will earn a solid away win.
Prediction: Stoke 0-1 Everton
Manchester United vs. Tottenham
Things have been a touch rough for Manchester United as they attempt to defend their Premier League title.
David Moyes appears to be getting the year on track, however. With a 1-0 win over Norwich on Dec. 28, the Red Devils have now won six straight matches in all competitions.
This has helped the Red Devils climb into sixth in the table with 34 points. Which, coincidentally, is the same point total for Tottenham.
After the sudden sacking of boss Andre Villas-Boas, the Hotspurs have gone 2-1-1, and they looked strong while beating Stoke 3-0 on Dec. 29.
While that clean sheet was a step in the right direction, the Hotspurs have been vulnerable on defense. They had allowed a combined four goals the two matches prior to Sunday's and 11 combined goals in the previous four.
The Red Devils will exploit that questionable defense and pull out another win.
Prediction: Manchester United 3-1 Tottenham
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