Gareth Barry’s late goal allowed Manchester City to close the gap on city rivals United, while the race for other two Champions League places tightened with four teams all tied on 30 points.
It looked like Roberto Mancini’s side were going to drop two valuable points in the title race to United as bottom side Reading looked set to have grabbed an unlikely point at the Etihad. But them Barry rose to head home in stoppage time from David Silva’s cross to give City another late win this season.
Arsenal climbed up to third in the table on goal difference with a 1-0 win at Wigan in the early kick-off thanks to a Mikel Arteta penalty, while Tottenham and Stoke played out a goalless draw at White Hart Lane.
It was a missed opportunity for Spurs to put some distance between themselves and the other Champions League contenders, but they Spurs seemed to have no idea how to break down a predictably tough Tony Pulis’ side.
Everton moved back into the top four as they came from behind to beat West Ham at Upton Park. Carlton Cole fired the Hammers into the lead, just moments after David Moyes side had seen a Leon Osman effort ruled out after Victor Anichebe was adjudged to have fouled Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Anichebe levelled after the break before Cole was sent off for a high challenge on Leighton Baines (a bad decision). Everton capitalised as Steven Pienaar grabbed the winner and the visitors held out after Darron Gibson was sent off in added time (an even worse decision).
Norwich saw their ten-game unbeaten run come to an end as they were beaten 2-1 by West Brom. Robert Snodgrass’ free-kick gave the Canaries the lead, but goals from Zoltan Gera and Romelu Lukaku ensured it was the Baggies who took the three points at The Hawthorns.
Albion have been the surprise side of the season so far, and Baggies fans must be pinching themselves that as Christmas Day rolls around that they are tied for third place in the league.
Harry Redknapp lost for the first time in charge of QPR, as substitute Shola Ameobi gave Newcastle a huge win over QPR. It was a good day for the Northeast as Sunderland also claimed an important 1-0 win at Southampton, Steven Fletcher grabbing the winner from Stephane Sessegnon’s mishit shot just before half-time.
In Saturday’s late game, Liverpool strolled to a 4-0 winover Fulham at Anfield. The goals were scored by Stewart Downing, Steven Gerrard, Martin Skrtel and Luis Suarez in a dominant performance from the Reds.
For all the troubles that Brendan Rodgers’s side has faced this season, they enter the Christmas break in 8th place in the league, only 5 points behind third place Arsenal. Can Liverpool end the season in one of those Champions League places?