Chelsea’s winning streak continued while champions Leicester gave us a reminder of last season and there was an unlikely winner in West Ham’s man-of-the-match Twitter poll.
Here, Press Association Sport studies what was learned from the latest round of Premier League matches.
Chelsea top of the tree
In the previous seasons when Chelsea topped the table at Christmas, they have gone on to win the title. Antonio Conte’s relentless side made it 11 straight wins – including nine clean sheets – with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace. They are now seven points clear and showing no signs of slowing down. The only downside was a fifth booking for goalscorer Diego Costa, who will miss the Boxing Day meeting with Bournemouth.
This is not what Petr Cech signed up for. The Arsenal goalkeeper has gone eight consecutive Premier League games without a clean sheet for the first time in his career. Arsenal blew the lead to lose 2-1 for the second straight match, and this time fellow title-hopefuls Manchester City were the beneficiaries. Whatever they are putting in the half-time tea at the Etihad Stadium did the trick as City were transformed after the break.
Trailing 2-0 and down to 10 men after Jamie Vardy’s red card, Leicester’s trip to Stoke had all the makings of another miserable afternoon for the fading champions. But the Foxes are finally starting to resemble the team which shocked the Premier League last season as goals from Leonardo Ulloa and Daniel Amartey in the final 15 minutes snatched an unlikely point and showed that maybe they are not a spent force after all.
Craig Pawson’s handling of Manchester United’s midweek trip to Crystal Palace drew much criticism, not least when he failed to send off Marcos Rojo for a two-footed lunge on Eagles winger Wilfried Zaha. Yet fast forward three days and suddenly the same referee deemed Vardy’s 28th-minute tackle on Potters forward Mame Biram Diouf to be worse. Not a good week for the 37-year-old official.
Hull out of luck
It said everything about the events at the London Stadium that the post was named man of the match by the official West Ham Twitter poll. In fairness it did have a good game, denying Dieumerci Mbokani and Andrew Robertson as well as preventing a Mark Noble own goal, and has certainly contributed more than most of West Ham’s summer signings. But when Noble converted a dubious penalty, all luckless Hull had to show for their efforts was bottom spot.