Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League at the second time of asking after overcoming newly-promoted AFC Bournemouth at The Emirates Stadium. Mesut Ozil made the first for Gabriel in the first half – his 16th assist of the season - before stroking home the second following an exchange of passes with Olivier Giroud.
The Gunners are joined in the top three by north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur after Mauricio Pochettino's side left it late to beat Watford at Vicarage Road. Odion Ighalo cancelled out Erik Lamela's opener before substitute Son Heung-min flicked home after coming back from an offside position.
Spurs leap-frogged Manchester City and went within three points of second place Leicester City ahead of the pair's meeting at the Kind Power Stadium on Tuesday [29 December]. Crystal Palace remain fifth in the table after despite being held to a goalless draw by Swansea City as interim boss Alan Curtis continues to enhance his reputation.
Louis van Gaal remains under pressure following an eighth game without a win despite his Manchester United side producing a vastly improved performance in the goalless draw with champions Chelsea, who remain winless under temporary boss Guus Hiddink. Juan Mata and Anthony Martial both hit the woodwork in the first half but that was the closest either side came as David de Gea saved well from John Terry and Pedro.
Stoke City surged into the top half with a second straight win over the festive period after prevailing in a seven-goal thriller against Everton at Goodison Park. Xherdan Shairi's double either side of Romelu Lukaku's strike, had the Potters ahead at the break. Lukaku struck his 11th goal in 10 games to restore parity before Gerard Delofeu netted as the Toffees staged a fine turnaround. Joselu equaliser with 10 minutes left before Marko Arnautovic scored from the penalty spot in the final minute to claim the most thrilling of victories.
West ham United ended a run of eight games without a win by coming from behind to beat Southampton at Upton Park. Carl Jenkinson's own goal had the Saints ahead at the break but Michail Antonio's first goal since joining from Nottingham Forest and Andy Carroll's 80th minute completed the comeback.
Darren Fletcher's second half goal ensures that Newcastle United will end the year in the Premier League relegation zone after West Bromwich Albion won for the first time since November. Karl Darlow made his Premier League debut for the Toon as a late replacement for the ill Rob Elliot and it was his mistake which allowed Fletcher to net the only goal 12 minutes from time.
Aston Villa were unable to give their survival chances a much-need pre-New Year boost as Norwich City claimed just their second league win in seven games. Jonny Howson and Dieumerci Mbokani scored in either half to allow the Canaries to pull three points clear of the bottom three.
Premier League results:
Crystal Palace 0-0 Swansea City, Everton 3-4 Stoke City, Norwich City 2-0 Aston Villa, Watford 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur, West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Newcastle United, Arsenal 2-0 AFC Bournemouth, Manchester United 0-0 Chelsea, West Ham United 2-1 Southampton