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EPL: Arsenal maul Newcastle 7-3

Arsenal-vs-NewcastleTheo Walcott gave Arsene Wenger yet another reminder of his goalscoring talents with a stunning hat-trick as Arsenal sank Newcastle 7-3 in a 10-goal thriller at the Emirates Stadium.

Wenger had talked up Walcott as the next Thierry Henry on the eve of the game, and the England forward — still to pen a new deal with the club — did little to disprove that idea, scoring three excellent goals and setting up two more to give Arsenal the win that ensured they ended 2012 in fifth place.

Arsenal’s record scorer Henry was in the stands watching his beloved former club and he was on his feet after 20 minutes thanks to Walcott’s opener.

Newcastle pulled level through Demba Ba, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored, only for Ba to grab his second to make it 2-2.

Arsenal looked set for a disappointing draw after Sylvain Marveaux equalised Lukasz Podolski’s header, but Walcott turned on the class to put the Gunners 4-3 up.

The former Southampton man set up Olivier Giroud twice and added his much-deserved third strike in injury time with a deft chip over Tim Krul.

Earlier, 10-man Manchester City came out on top in a seven-goal thriller at Norwich to avoid falling further behind in the title race.

The defending champions looked to be cruising to a routine win after Edin Dzeko bagged a brace inside the opening four minutes, but Anthony Pilkington pulled one back before Samir Nasri was dismissed following a confrontation with Sebastien Bassong.

The visitors made light of the disadvantage to go 3-1 up thanks to a Sergio Aguero goal, but Norwich fought back as Russell Martin found the net.

But a Mark Bunn own goal, after a Dzeko shot had come back off the post, sealed a 4-3 win, despite Martin’s second for the Canaries.

Manchester United retained their seven-point lead over their city rivals thanks to a comfortable 2-0 win over West Brom at Old Trafford.

Gareth McAuley diverted an Ashley Young cross into his own net for the opener, with Robin van Persie sealing the win late on.

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