Arsenal beat Newcastle 1-0 at St James' Park after a second-half goal from Olivier Giroud to go top of the league
That's it for me then. Football never stops though and Jacob Steinberg has already started liveblogging the Chelsea v Liverpool game, which kicks off at 4pm. Join him here!
So Arsenal are top, one point ahead of Manchester City and they go into the new year as leaders. Everton are up to fourth after their win.
Ethan Dean-Richards emails re the only goal of the game:
The free-kick that led to the goal was Tiote's fifth or sixth 'tactical' foul today. Five or six examples of something that was technically cheating, deliberately tripping people over, but there was no righteous indignation from the commentary team or anyone on Twitter. If he'd have dived just once, the uproar would have been far more dramatic. Double standard?!
At Goodison Everton have beaten Southampton 2-1. Lukaku got the winner.
And it is. Arsenal are back on top after a 1-0 win and are top of the league again.
90 + 4 mins: That should be it.
90 + 4 mins: Szczesny punches the ball away from Krul!
90 + 3 mins: One last chance for Newcastle. Corner.
90 + 3 mins: Debuchy sends another cross in but Mertesacker clears.
90 + 2 mins: Ball back with Krul. He launches it long.
90 + 1 min: It will be four minutes of added time. Ben Arfa does everything right again, apart from his finish. With lots of space in the Arsenal area he hits the side-netting.
90 mins: Krul up for a corner!
89 mins: And I mean immense in a powerful sense rather than large.
89 mins: Another high ball is met by Mertesacker's immense forehead.
88 mins: Flamini does well to intercept Santon's pass to Ben Arfa. Backs-to-the-wall stuff for Arsenal now. Tioté down with cramp. His team-mates don't wait for him.
87 mins: Ben Arfa does everything right - until the final ball. Nutmegs Cazorla, dances past Wilshere … before sending his throughball straight to Szczesny.
86 mins: Giroud comes off (and gets booed as he takes his time, shaking Probert's hand on his way). Nic Bendtner is on!
84 mins: Newcastle are really putting Arsenal under pressure now. Mertesacker with a poor clearance but Ameobi fails to take advantage, his weak shot saves comfortably by Szczesny.
83 mins: Say what you like about this Arsenal performance but they have been - apart from that Szczesny clearance - very solid defensively today.
81 mins: Wow. Szczesny really gets away with it there. The Pole hits the ball straight at Rémy while trying to clear. The ball rebounds off the Frenchman's chest and trickles just wide of the post.
79 mins: Two substitutions: Haidara on for Sissoko and Jenkinson on for Walcott.
78 mins: Good atmosphere at St James' Park now as the crowd reacts furiously to Probert giving Arsenal a free-kick after a push by Sissoko.
77 mins: And then Rosicky is booked for a challenge on Cabaye. Tioté, of all people, reacts furiously and pushes Rosicky in the chest. They all then calm down.
76 mins: Flamini booked for a silly and late challenge on Ben Arfa.
74 mins: Pardew makes another change. This time he introduces Shola Ameobi for Anita. This is a really attacking Newcastle side now.
73 mins: Newcastle send in some dangerous crosses but they are all dealt with by the Arsenal defence. Meanwhile, it is 1-1 at Goodison Park between Everton and Southampton after Gaston Ramirez's equaliser.
71 mins: 19 minutes remaining and Wenger has made his first change. Arteta is on for Gibbs so Flamini moves to left-back by the look of things.
70 mins: Penalty shout for Newcastle as Flamini leans heavily on Debuchy (this man has really been everywhere today, what a performance). Could have been given actually.
69 mins: Incredible. Arsenal comes sooooooo close to going two up but Debuchy saves Walcott's little dink off the line.
68 mins: Arsenal are about to make a change with Mikel Arteta coming on.
67 mins: Newcastle win a corner but it is far too easy for Arsenal and Mertesacker to defend. It was straight at the big German's head.
65 mins: Well, what a blow for Newcastle. Arsenal take the lead from a long, floating free-kick. Giroud only got the faintest of touches on the ball but it meant that Krul had no chance of saving it. It's a very good goal actually.
Giroud heads in Walcott's free-kick!
64 mins: Arsenal have a free-kick after Tioté fouls Cazorla.
63 mins: How long before Lukas Podolski comes on? Only Arsène knows …
62 mins: It's Gouffran coming off as the French No10 comes on. Interesting. Let's see what happens now.
61 mins: Pardew reacts first! Hatem Ben Arfa about to come on.
60 mins: A decent Arsenal move ends with a terrible cross by Walcott as he attempted to reach the onrushing Bacary Sagna.
58 mins: I've been told by Philip Podolsky that my colleague Paolo Bandini was talking about satsumas in a clockwatch in 2011. This is what he had to say then (and, although I think Paolo is great he is clearly talking utter nonsense here, what does he mean by small oranges …):
I've just been given a clementine. I'm told it's a clementine, rather than a satsuma, or a tangerine. Let's be honest, they're all just small oranges, aren't they?
55 mins: Arsenal look a bit jaded actually. No trouble this time though as Coloccini's long ball forward finds only the safe gloves of Szczesny.
54 mins: Arsenal now with some sustained pressure and Rosicky wins a free-kick in the Newcastle half.
52 mins: At the other end Cazorla gives the ball away. It has not been the Spaniard's best game of football, it is fair to say.
51 mins: Arsenal are finding it difficult to cope with Newcastle's pressure. The home side are on the attack again and this time Anita puts a swerving ball into the area but Gouffran fails to make contact.
49 mins: Cabaye's workrate is just outstanding. This time he chases down Koscielny as another Arsenal attack breaks down. Well it wasn't even an attack, it hadn't even started.
48 mins: Tioté finds himself with acres of space in midfield. Looks up and picks out, er, Koscielny. What a waste. If he could pass like he tackles then he would be absolutely world class (although not sure Olivier Giroud would agree with that).
47 mins: Amir Adhamy emails re lack of snacks in office: "Satsumas are also delicious! And very Christmassy. I used to get a couple in my stocking every year, and devour them well before 6am in a fit of excitement. Never got over that stupid happy feeling I suppose. Damn, you know what, I'm going to have a satsuma too. SOLIDARITY!"
Newcastle's turn to kick off. No changes for either side.
Very sad news from Russia, where the former international Ilya Tsymbalar has died at the age of 44.
Half-time reading: Here's the latest on Nicolas Anelka and yesterday's controversial goal celebration. The West Brom striker faces a five-game ban.
The main theme of the first half …
What a chance at the end of that first half. Newcastle could easily have been 1-0 up. As it happens, the first half ended 0-0 and time for a half-time snack (although having said that there appears to be a complete lack of snacks in the office today). What kind of an office am I working in? It is the 29th of December and no one has brought in any snacks. I have to have a SATSUMA? That's not a snack. That's fruit.
And just before the whistle Williamson hits the bar with a looping header with Szczesny stranded.
45 +1 min: Newcastle corner!
45 mins: And Giroud celebrates the arrival of those two extra minutes by heading the ball straight out for a throw-in.
45 mins: And we will have two minutes of added time at the end of the first half.
44 mins: Theo Walcott unimpressed by a challenge from that man Tioté again. True, the arm was high but it wasn't that bad.
42 mins: Gibbs sends a long ball into the Newcastle area. Tioté produces a poor clearance and the ball lands at the feet of … Per Mertesacker. The volley the German comes up with is predictably terrible.
40 mins: Interesting. Moussa Sissoko charged down the Arsenal left, is sandwhiched between Gibbs and Flamini - and gets nothing. The Newcastle fans wanted a penalty. Their team should have had a free-kick. That was a poor decision by Probert.
39 mins: Giroud on the ground again, this time after a hefty Cheick Tioté challenge. He sits on the ground for a bit and looks at Tioté with a look that says: 'don't you dare do that again'. Only problem for Giroud is that Tioté isn't looking.
37 mins: More good defending, again from Koscielny, as the forward players (on both sides) are struggling to make any impact whatsoever.
36 mins: Giroud down injured again. When he finally gets up he is booked and told to leave the pitch, together with Cazorla, who was also injured. Both are back on now though.
35 mins: Stephen Gelb points out that I have failed to mention the ref and the subs. So here goes: The referee is Lee Probert and here's Newcastle's bench: Cisse, Ben Arfa,
Yanga-Mbiwa, Haidara, Elliot, Shola Ameobi, Sammy Ameobi. And Arsenal's bench: Arteta, Podolski, Fabianski, Bendtner, Jenkinson, Miyaichi,
31 mins: That's actually beautiful defending by Kosielny. Debuchy again finds space on the right (is Gibbs still on the pitch?) but his cross is intercepted by the most brilliant of touches by the French defender. He completely kills the speed of that cross with one little touch. Nice to see.
31 mins: Cazorla's turn to test Krul and the Dutch goalkeeper is equal to the challenge.
30 mins: Giroud is down injured. Wenger looks worried - and rightly so. It's not as if he has an army of strikers ready to come on.
28 mins: Excellent covering by Sagna, who catches up with Cabaye and makes sure the Frenchman is stopped in his tracks. Newcastle win a throw-in but Flamini then thwarts Gouffran.
27 mins: That's a really good shot from Tomas Rosicky but it is straight at Krul. Arguably Arsenal's best chance so far and that shows how good Newcastle have been defensively.
25 mins: Cabaye sends the free-kick towards the Arsenal area, Williamson nudges the ball to Debuchy, who volleys well over Szczesny's bar. Either keeper, in fact, has been troubled so far. This is not what it was supposed to be like. Where is my goal-fest?
24 mins: Some brilliant defensive work by Cabaye. He's been tremendous so far.
23 mins: Krul is only able to punch away the corner and Arsenal keeps possession before Coloccini blocks a Walcott shot. The ball ends up at Wilshere's feet but he then fires high from long range.
22 mins: Corner for Arsenal.
20 mins: Sarcastic applause from the home fans after Newcastle are finally awarded a free-kick. The ball is hoofed forward for Mertesacker (obviously) to clear and when the ball falls to Vurnon Anita the Dutchman slices his shot horribly wide.
18 mins: Newcastle's first effort on target and it is an easy save for Wojciech Szczesny in the end, collecting Sissoko's header from a difficult angle with ease. Rémy had provided the cross, this time from Newcastle's left-hand side.
17 mins: Arsenal under a bit of pressure for the first time this afternoon and it is all happening down their left side. Debuchy is breaking through time and time again, although his crosses have not been of the highest quality so far. This time it ends with Sagna clearing.
15 mins: The game has really opened up now. First Santi Cazorla nearly finds Giroud on the edge of the Newcastle area. The home team, however, intercept and launch a counterattack which sees Loïc Remy turning Laurent Koscielny inside out before crossing to, er, no one in particular.
13 mins: Now, what's this? Newcastle venturing forward? Yes! Of course they are. And it is a brilliant throughball to Mathieu Debuchy but the full-back's touch lets him down and it is a goal kick for Arsenal.
10 mins: Everton have taken the lead in the other 1.30pm kick-off against Southampton (Seamus Coleman) while here at St James' Park it is still all Arsenal. Their latest attempt was a delightful Wilshere chip which nearly reached Rosicky in the penalty area.
9 mins: A wonderful little one-two between Wilshere and Rosicky but the move is intercepted by a long, outstretched Fabricio Coloccini leg
8 mins: Walcott nearly nips in to get the ball before Tim Krul after Davide Santon was put under pressure by a long ball. In the end it was actually a superb defensive header by the full-back.
6 mins: Newcastle all over the place in the first few minutes here. Kieran Gibbs has just had three (yes, three!) chances to cross but did not find a team-mate with any of his attempts. What a waste.
4 mins: This has been a pretty passive start by Newcastle and Jack Wilshere has already had two opportunities to maraud forward and he nearly wins a corner on the second occasion.
3 mins: A late challenge by Yohan Cabaye in midfield gives Arsenal a free-kick in their own half.
2 min: Tomas Rosicky has started playing just behind Olivier Giroud up front (well, he has been running around like a man possessed in the early exchanges so it is a bit difficult to say but he his playing centrally at least)
And the game has started!
Three minutes to kick-off and just before the action starts here is a Martin Lloyd re the earlier Van Gaal clip:
Yup, those subtitles are a pretty good reflection of the conversation. No idea if there's a back story to it. While we're at it. Can we give a shout out to the amazing Mark Allison, aka Run Geordie Run, who's covered more than 2000 miles running across Australia to raise money for the Sir Bobby Robson foundation. He's nearly finished, you can support him at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/rungeordierun
My colleague here at the Guardian Dan Lucas emails re the 'Friede, Freude, Eierkuchen' expression used by Mertesacker when talking about his row with Özil (see post at 12.57pm).
It's the slogan of an old electronica & dance music festival in Berlin known as The Love Parade. It got cancelled a few years ago when, terribly, some people got trampled to death. It was a kind of contemporary take on the spirit of revolution and 1960s counterculture.
Gunter Woltron also explains:
Hi Marcus - Eierkuchen refers to eggs as a key ingredient, 'Pfann'kuchen to the baking tool, the Pfanne. Guess the first is southern and the second northern Germany. enjoying your blog, cheers
Arsène Wenger has also speaking to Sky, saying that Özil is likely to miss two or three games: "I would have loved to have him here [today] but he has a shoulder problem and he will be out for two to three games." Asked about Arsenal collecting most PL points of any team in 2013, the Frenchman said: "It shows that we've been relatively consistent. We have a very good squad but this is another difficult game for us and we want to finish the year on a high."
Alan Pardew has been speaking to Sky Sports and this to say on his team selection: "We're in good shape today, it's the side that beat Manchester United and I'm hoping we can produce that level of performance again". He also talked about the decision not to sell Yohan Cabaye to Arsenal last summer: "At times at a club you need to be strong and the owner, Joe and myself didn't think the valuation was right and Yohan has been, in my opinion, one of the best 10 to 15 players in the division this season."
This may not have anything to do with Arsenal v Newcastle but I've just got to ask any Dutch-speaking people out there whether the subtitles on this Louis van Gaal clip is actually right? And whether the incident actually took place. Brilliant if it correct.
It is a beautiful day in Newcastle and the home fans are clearly optimistic.
Time then perhaps to look at some pretty entertaining quotes from Per Mertesacker in an exclusive interview in today's Bild am Sonntag. The article is behind a paywall but here are the main quotes. First of all he said that drawing Bayern Munich in the Champions League was "a good draw" and that Bayern "were paralysed" when Arsenal went 2-0 up at the Allianz Arena in last season's Champions League game.
The most interesting part of the interview, however, was when BFG talked about his row with fellow German Mesut Özil after the 6-3 defeat at the Etihad. This is what Mertesacker had to say: "'It can't just be all happiness, peace and pancakes. If it is then you won't develop as a team. The good thing is that Mesut and I know each other well from our time at Bremen. We can be honest with each other."
Just love the expression happiness, peace and pancakes. Any German speakers out there? Where does it come from? And why pancakes? And why Eierkuchen rather than Pfannkuchen? The full expression is 'Friede, Freude, Eierkuchen'. Where is Raf Honigstein when you need him?
So four changes for Arsenal, Arsène Wenger bringing in Koscielny, Flamini, Rosicky and Wilshere in place of Arteta, Ramsey, Özil and Vermaelen. Tioté for Hatem Ben Arfa is Alan Pardew's only change.
And here is how the hosts line up today: (4-3-3): Krul; Debuchy, Coloccini (c), Williamson, Santon; Anita, Tioté, Cabaye; Sissoko, Remy, Gouffran.
So here's the Arsenal team and Özil, as expected, is not in it. Not even on the bench I am told (but I haven't seen the subs yet): Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Flamini, Rosicky, Wilshere, Walcott, Cazorla, Giroud
Good afternoon and thanks for joining me for what should be a very exciting game at St James' Park. The past five meetings between these two teams have served up a mouth-watering 22 goals with Arsenal winning 7-3 at home last season. And then there was that remarkable 4-4 draw in February 2011.
The big talking points so far this morning has been the (unconfirmed) reports that Mesut Özil hasn't travelled with the rest of his Arsenal team-mates to Tyneside because of a minor shoulder injury. We should find out soon enough. Laurent Koscielny may well replace Thomas Vermaelen in defence. Newcastle, meanwhile, will be relishing this game after their 5-1 thumping of Stoke City on Boxing Day (although I doubt Arsenal will have two players sent off).
Marcus will be here shortly. In the meantime, here's Alan Pardew on Arsène Wenger:
Newcastle's manager believes English football is suffering from a lack of continuity at the top of clubs. "It's important to have the same [managerial] voice in the dressing room," he says. "A training ground is like a living and breathing animal. You need to understand how it works so you can make changes when it's not working. You need to have time to be allowed to do that but, sometimes, if it's not working out over a little period, you can lose your job.
"Clubs can learn from Arsenal. What a job Arsène Wenger has done there. I really hope he wins the Champions League this year. He deserves it."
There was a time, most notably during his days in charge of West Ham, that Pardew's attitude towards Wenger was somewhat frostier but passing years allied to Newcastle's own Gallic experiment has mellowed such attitudes.
"We've introduced a lot of French players because of market forces," says Pardew. "Arsène's first port of call when he arrived here was France, for the same reason. I'm disappointed not to have more British players in my team. I want more British players but I'm certainly not going to argue with our French contingent. They've been brilliant. It's a world [transfer] market now. Arsène maybe saw that before other managers; we owe him a bit of a debt."