EPL Hits and Misses: Gunners get it right
Arsenal get a monkey off their back by beating City but Louis van Gaal finds his way into the misses pile despite a Man United win. Liverpool are on the up, though. It's Hits and Misses...
Yes Gooners, you can stop pinching yourselves. Arsenal have actually toppled a top opponent.
While Manchester City were certainly weakened by the absences of Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri, it would have surprised no one if Arsenal had failed to take their chance given their poor record against the Premier League's finest.
Instead, the Gunners, for once, put their attacking instincts aside to turn in a disciplined and resolute performance to record a rare victory over a side in the top four.
The win is a massive boost for Arsene Wenger's side, who are now just a point away from fourth spot.
Alexis Sanchez must be thankful to have someone else to help him with the Gunners' full weight on his shoulders.
Their 5-0 thrashing of Swansea seems to suggest they are back in cruise mode once again after their recent hiccups.
Many, myself included, scoffed when Brendan Rodgers suggested that Liverpool were still aiming for a Champions League spot when the Reds were in the wrong half of the table at the end of November.
Ten games later, the Merseysiders are making a good fist of their manager's bullish claims as they sit just five points behind fourth-place Manchester United after their 2-0 win at Villa Park.
Southampton's latest hero after two smartly-taken strikes to help the Saints to a 2-1 victory over Newcastle.
The English media might be purring over the latest great white hope for England in Harry Kane, but the Danish midfielder has been popping up with crucial goals for Spurs all season.
Eriksen's goal against Sunderland was the fifth match-winner he's scored this season for the north Londoners. It was also his eighth strike to make him joint-top scorer at his club alongside Kane.
Oh, and Spurs won 2-1. Again.
Eyebrows were raised when Pardew opted to trade his job at a gradually improving Newcastle for a relgation dogfight Crystal Palace.
Two come-from-behind wins later, the former Palace player finds himself breathing down the Magpies' neck with four points separating 11th and 12th.
Louis van Gaal
The honeymoon period is officially over. While Manchester United fans happily lapped up his every word after a season of sniveling excuses under David Moyes, the calls by United's traveling faithful at Loftus Road for "four-four-two" suggest that the goodwill enjoyed by Louis van Gaal is eroding.
The 3-5-2 might have served the Dutchman well during the World Cup, but it is becoming a sticking point as the Red Devils continually flounder in a formation they are ill-suited for.
While van Gaal isn't responsible for his players' performances when they take to the pitch, the Iron Tulip has baffled many by playing Angel di Maria as a striker while Wayne Rooney continues to toil in midfield. Van Gaal may value player versatility but forking out a British record transfer fee for player only to play him out of position is simply astonishing.
Add Phil Jones' pathetic corner-taking routine and you can see why the fans are starting to question the man who succeeded Moyes.
It will be a cold, cold day in hell when someone like van Gaal starts letting terrace chanting dictate his tactics, but the United boss should consider giving the fans what they want after a switch back to a flat back-four led to their 2-0 victory over QPR.
Weakened by the absences of Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri, City's usually devastating attack was not at the races on Sunday,
However, the champions were also let down by some uncharacteristically shoddy defending.
Captain Vincent Kompany was clumsy when he barged into Nacho Monreal to concede the penalty for Arsenal's opener before the entire defence went to sleep for Olivier Giroud to head in a second.
Manuel Pellegrini's men cannot be as charitable when they take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in their next league assignment on Feb 1.
It's been five matches since they've scored in the EPL - just like their last goal drought in October.
With a trip to Arsenal as their next task, the Villans' goalscoring situation isn't exactly looking to improve.
That's three losses in a row with just a point and Burnley separating them from the relegation zone.
The hole in the ground he has been digging for himself is getting deeper and deeper...