Premier League big guns begin 2016 on a high

Arsenal started the year the same way they ended it, with a slim victory over Newcastle United.

Arsenal's forward, Olivier Giroud. Picture: Official Arsenal Facebook page.

JOHANNESBURG - The weekend's Premier League results told a story of the good old days where the top teams stamped their authority on the lesser favoured sides, with the odd "giant" faltering.

Arsenal started the year the same way they ended it, with a slim victory over Newcastle United, creating some breathing space between them and the chasing pack at the top.

A hard fought victory for the Gunners, that could've and should've been easy, had they taken their chances.

Leicester City, who've been a very surprising, but very refreshing high in the league this season, have suddenly found it tough to continue in the same vein as they have now gone three games without a win, but still find themselves comfortably nestled in second place on the log, just two points behind the log leaders.

The Foxes won't despair their recent bad run, as they have reached their 40 point target for the season, which should all but seal their place in the top flight for next season.

However, their performance this season, already suggested that relegation was a far-fetched anticipation.

Defending champions Chelsea, Manchester United and rivals Manchester City were also among the winners in the first round of fixtures for 2016.

The Blues, who picked up their first win under interim manager Guus Hiddink, since he replaced Jose Mourinho, looked in imperious form against Crystal Palace, putting three goals in the back of the net, but their league position remains an unflattering sight, as they lie in 14th.

City kept up their title charge as well with a an impressive fight back against Watford, while Louis van Gaal's United picked up their first win in the league since November 2015, with a win against Swansea City, in which Wayne Rooney scored, to become the 2nd highest goal scorer in the league's history.

Liverpool were the only top team who fell, losing 2-0 to West Ham United, increasing the volume of alarm bells for manager Jurgen Klopp to make some personnel changes to his ailing squad.