DEFENDING looked like a lost art in the English Premier League after 35 goals were scored in yesterday's eight games.
Arsenal led the goal-scoring feast after England forward Theo Walcott scored a hat-trick in the 7-3 home win against Newcastle United.
Walcott also set up two goals in the win that ensured Arsenal finish 2012 in fifth place, two points behind Chelsea and three adrift of Tottenham, with a match in hand.
Two goals from Edin Dzeko helped Manchester City win 4-3 at Norwich, despite the champions having Samir Nasri sent off in the first half.
The win keeps City second, but still seven points behind Manchester United.
The Reds beat West Bromwich Albion 2-0 at Old Trafford with an own goal from Gareth McAuley before substitute Robin van Persie sealed the win with his 17th goal of the season in the final minute.
Elsewhere, Tottenham came from behind to win 2-1 at Sunderland, while Aston Villa's defence leaked more goals again after Wigan won 3-0 at Villa Park.
The result means Villa have now conceded 15 goals in three games and failed to score any after losing 8-0 at Chelsea and 4-0 at home to Tottenham on Boxing Day.
Southampton led Stoke City 3-1 before Cameron Jerome's spectacular strike in the final minute earned the hosts share of the points in a 3-3 draw.
Second-last Reading beat West Ham 1-0, while Swansea won 2-1 at Fulham, meaning the Londoners have now won just one of their last 12 league matches.