London, England, United Kingdom (4E Sports) – Nicklas Bendtner scored in the 88th minute to lift Arsenal to a 2-0 win over Cardiff City Wednesday at Emirates Stadium.
The win vaulted Arsenal back on top of the Premier League table after momentarily losing the lead with Manchester City’s 3-2 win over Swansea City.
Arsene Wenger’s side looked set to lose it grip on first place as manager-less Cardiff frustrated them for long periods.
Watched by prospective new boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer from the stadium’s director box, Cardiff held Arsenal scoreless until Bendtner slammed home in the 88th minute.
Theo Walcott made it a two-goal game with an outstanding finish in stoppage time to hand Wenger’s side a one-point advantage over Manchester City for the lead.
“We needed to be patient against a very good Cardiff side. They did work absolutely hard, their new manager [Ole Gunnar Solksjaer] was in the stands. They deserve credit and were a bit unfortunate to lose in the end,” Wenger said.
“It’s hugely disappointing. The players have given their all and I thought they had done enough to get a draw,” Cardiff interim manager David Kerslake said.
Due to injuries to key players, Wenger gave Lukas Podolski his second Premier League start of the season. Arsenal played without injured Olivier Giroud (ankle), Aaron Ramsey (thigh), Mesut Ozil (shoulder) and Kieran Gibbs (calf).
Forward Craig Bellamy missed out due to his chronic knee problem, while experienced right-back Kevin McNaughton made a first Premier League appearance for Cardiff.
Earlier, Manchester City overcame Swansea, 3-2, thanks to goals by Fernandinho, Yaya Toure and Aleksandar Kolarov. Wilfried Bony scored twice for Swansea.
Chelsea remained two points behind in third after a 3-0 victory over Southampton. Fernando Torres, Willian and Oscar scored in the second half for Chelsea.
Liverpool defeated Hull City, 2-0, to overtake Everton for fourth place. A header by Daniel Agger broke the deadlock for the Reds before Luis Suarez curled in a 50th-minute free-kick to seal the win and take his personal tally for the season to 20 goals.
Everton, for its part, escaped with a 1-1 draw with Stoke City while Fulham defeated West Ham United, 2-1, at Craven Cottage.
In other games, West Bromwich Albion beat 10-man Newcastle United, 1-0; Aston Villa downed Sunderland, 1-0; and Crystal Palace settled for a 1-1 draw with Norwich City.