Arsenal moved two points clear of Leicester at the top of the Premier League table with a win over Newcastle.
The Magpies should have come away with at least a point, having been on the front foot for much of the second half.
Arsenal’s boss – Arsene Wenger believed his team dug deep for a win, he said –
” We were not at our best but we had to dig deep and we can do that when needed. If you are down there then those are the matches you lose but they will not stay down there – they are a good team’’
“It was about solidarity, tired legs and taking a chance from a set piece. We were not at our best today, but over Christmas in four games we took nine points so we can look back and say we did 75% of our job as we lost at Southampton.”
Asked if his side would be signing anyone in the transfer window, Wenger replied: “Imminent, no, but we will look.”
Meanwhile, Louis Van Gaal has said Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Swansea can be a fantastic start. United had not won in their previous eight games, a run that left the manager’s stay at Old Trafford in doubt.
Van Gaal played Ashley Young – previously deployed as a wing-back – as part of an attacking midfield against the Swans, leaving Phil Jones, Daley Blind and Chris Smalling as a three-man defence. And the manager was rewarded when Young provided an assist for Anthony Martial’s second-half opener on Saturday.
Gylfi Sigurdsson levelled for Swansea, but Wayne Rooney’s instinctive flick 13 minutes from time proved decisive.
Manchester City also left it late to halt their poor away form as goals from Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero stopped the title contenders from falling six points behind league leaders Arsenal.
Watford went ahead after the break when Aleksandar Kolarov headed Ben Watson’s corner beyond Joe Hart, who had the situation covered, for an own goal.
With defeat looming, Toure side-foot volleyed Kolarov’s corner into the near post to level.
And Aguero headed Bacary Sagna’s fine cross home to secure a rare away win in what will be a pivotal moment for Manuel Pellegrini’s men.