Ironically, the Premier League season is warming up very nicely as we enter the foggy, festive period of December. The title race is beginning to take shape, it is difficult to predict where the European qualification positions will go and the relegation battle looks set to be the tightest one for a long time.
At the top of the table, Chelsea maintained their dominance at home against Tottenham, not much of a surprise considering Sinead O'Connor's Nothing Compares to You hit was number one the last time Spurs won at Stamford Bridge in 1990. Chelsea did have a scare early on as in-form Harry Kane hit the bar from a header and zipped a left footed shot just wide of the post. However, Eden Hazard broke the deadlock before Didier Drogba doubled the lead. Drogba was replaced by Loic Remy and the form QPR striker added a third to compound Spurs' misery.
Manchester City ensured Chelsea remain just six points ahead of them with an empathic 4 - 1 victory against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. The Black Cats actually took the lead through a Connor Wickham goal but the magician that is Sergio Aguero came to the resuce for City yet again. Scoring the equaliser and teeing up Jovetic for City's second, Aguero scored his 14th league goal with the fourth after Pablo Zabaleta scored with a fine chip.
Although Chelsea look the stronger team, with predictions of going the season unbeaten, City will have a good chance at nicking the title as long as Sergio Aguero remains injury free. He is quite possibly the best striker in the world at the moment and his performance against Bayern Munich in the Champions League last week shows he can perform at the highest level.
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Also on Wednesday night, Arsenal had to rely on a late Alexis Sanchez goal to secure them three points against a stuttering Southampton. The Saints will be hoping to remain in European contention when the January transfer window opens so they can bring in fresh legs to maintain their push up the table. Everton were held to a 1 - 1 draw with strugglers Hull as Sone Aluko cancelled out Romelu Lukaku's opener for the Toffees. This was another disappointing result for Roberto Martinez, whose Everton side have uncharacteristically struggled for form at Goodison Park so far this season.
After a very difficult start to the season, Liverpool have finally managed to produce some momentum, winning back to back league games after Tuesday night's 3 - 1 victory at Leicester. Under-fire captain Steven Gerrard, who has just been offered a new contract to stay at Anfield, marked his return to the first team with a goal to add to Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson's efforts. Leicester's misery was compounded with the sending off of their captain Wes Morgan as they remain rock bottom. This much needed win has alleviated pressure off manager Brendan Rogers as last season's surge, which should have secured Liverpool's first Premier League title, seems a thing of the distant past.
Liverpool's bitter rivals Manchester United escaped a late scare from Stoke to earn a fourth straight victory through goals from the rejuvenated Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata after Stephen N'Zonzi had equalised for the Potters. United's form is not as impressive as first meets the eye, as their defence still looks shaky especially towards the end of matches and on Tuesday night, Louis Van Gaal had David De Gea to thank for preserving three vital points.
Another goal keeper who had an extremely impressive display mid-week was Rob Green but unlike his fellow keeper De Gea, Green's side QPR had nothing to show for his efforts. The Hoops had lost every away game of the season, and therefore travelled to Swansea with little optimism. The Swans, with the lethal Wilfred Bony, the highest Premier League scorer in the calendar year, in their ranks were kept at bay by Green. However, in the 78th minute, Ki managed to fire home a powerful shot from an almost impossible angle which finally ended Green's resistance and Wayne Routledge then blasted home a second from outside the box to condemn QPR to a straight seventh away loss.
This meant Burnley could make up ground on their relegation rivals as they entertained Newcastle, who have enjoyed a huge turnaround recently. Burnley took the lead through George Boyd's effort from outside the box as the Clarets sensed their third win in four games on Sean Dyche's 100th game in charge. However, Newcastle improved after the break and equalised through Papiss Cisse's fifth league goal of the campaign. Although Burnley were denied the win, the point was still enough to claw them out of the relegation zone.
This result put last season's Championship runners up just a point behind Crystal Palace who slipped to a 1 - 0 loss at Selhurst Park to Aston Villa. After Scott Dann lost the ball, Christian Benteke showed his class by curling the ball into the bottom corner from 18 yards out for his first goal of the season. The Belgian striker has endured a tough time as of late, missing the World Cup and first three months of the season with a ruptured Achilles and serving a three match suspension but it Villa can keep him fit, he should be able to keep them safe.
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Elsewhere, West Ham came from behind to secure a 2 - 1 victory at the Hawthorns against West Brom, who had taken the lead through Craig Dawson, ending Albion's extraordinary 323-minute Premier League goal drought. However, goals from Nolan and Tomkins solidified West Ham's grip on fifth spot.
As we head into the frantic, festive period, the Premier League is promising to deliver some real crackers.Suggest a correction