Arsene Wenger’s side went into the weekend as leaders, but a chastening 5-1 defeat at Liverpool cost them top spot and raised serious doubts about their title credentials.
Arsenal’s slip-up allowed Chelsea to take over at the summit and Jose Mourinho’s team could pull four points clear if they win at West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday.
For all Mourinho’s protestations that Chelsea are not genuine title contenders, they are now the favourites in the eyes of the British bookmakers following their 3-0 win at home to Newcastle United.
Chelsea needed a controversial injury-time penalty from Hazard to secure a 2-2 draw with West Brom in November’s reverse fixture, but the Midlands club have slipped into the bottom three after winning only one of their subsequent 14 matches.
Unlike Chelsea, Manchester City failed to capitalise on Arsenal’s capitulation at Liverpool, with a 0-0 draw at Norwich City leaving them two points off the pace in third place.
On Wednesday Manuel Pellegrini’s side host Sunderland, in a dress rehearsal for next month’s League Cup final.
Liverpool’s rout of Arsenal took them to within six points of top spot, but they are likely to regard Wednesday’s trip to Fulham with a greater degree of circumspection after the London club’s dogged display at United.
Fulham’s draw at Old Trafford means that only seven points now separate the 10 teams in the bottom half of the table.
English Premier League fixtures
Cardiff City v Aston Villa
Hull City v Southampton
West Ham United v Norwich City
West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea