EPL Hits and Misses: The one that's later than usual
City turn the screw on Chelsea while Andy Carroll features with his brace that (temporarily) sent West Ham into an unthinkable third place. Of course, Man United took that spot from them despite a dire showing. Read on, people...
Tops the list with two very typical Andy Carroll goals, his first since March, to propel West Ham into their highest league position in 15 years, albeit temporarily. It's been one heck of a comeback from injury for the former Newcastle and Liverpool striker, who has often been derided for his fragility in contrast with his physical style of play.
Quietly chugging along and closing the chasm following the fading and subsequent destruction of Chelsea's aura of invincibility. After a few recent stumbles of their own, City have pulled together at the Premier League's team in form by lodging five wins and a draw in their last six matches to close the gap on Jose Mourinho's side to three points. The title race is alive once again, folks! Happy days.
Stumbling into third place and five points behind their neighbours despite an anemic performance at St Mary's. Louis van Gaal admitted that they were lucky to win and rightfully so. Even though the Dutchman can take heart in Robin van Persie's renaissance, he has yet another selection headache in defence after Chris Smalling pulled up early to join the club's lengthy injury list. Also worrying for the Red Devils was the shoddy performances of several of key players. Van Gaal will certainly demand more from his men when they take on Liverpool on Sunday.
The Senegalese has rediscovered the lethal form from his early days in the English Premier League as an impact substitute. The Blues must have felt a sense of deja vu watching Cisse notch a brace against them as he did in spectacular fashion in 2012.
The Potters' form has been nothing short of a roller coaster this season. So after three consecutive Premier League defeats, you had to feel that Mark Hughes' side was due a win. And beat Arsenal they did, heaping more pressure on Arsene Wenger in the process. However, a defeat has followed each of Stoke's four prior victories, meaning Sparky has much to do if the club are to get their first back-to-back wins of the season at Crystal Palace this weekend.
Queens Park Rangers
While Chelsea have been hogging first place, the relegation dogfight this season has been truly fascinating to watch with teams at the bottom of the table taking turns to get their heads above water. This week, it's QPR's turn to have a breather outside of the drop zone after keeping a clean sheet against fellow strugglers Burnley. The down side, though, is that top scorer Charlie Austin will miss their upcoming match against Everton because of his red card.
Probably the most relieved manager in the Premier League this week after ending Aston Villa's wretched nine-game winless streak in midweek against Crystal Palace before quickly following it up with another victory over hapless Leicester City over the weekend. Such is the closeness of the bottom half of the table that the Villans suddenly find themselves in 11th place - just two points off Liverpool and Spurs directly above them.
Does Arsene Wenger still believes his side can catch Chelsea and challenge for the title? While the Blues did their part to open the title race with their first lost of the season, the Frenchman and his Gunners failed to deliver on their end of the bargain. The unrest among the usually loyal Arsenal part worsened, with supporters going as far as to barrack their team at the train station following the defeat. The north Londoners are now 13 points behind Chelsea and while Wenger is unlikely to wave the white flag, he must surely be aware that his reputation at the club is being dragged through the mud.
Liverpool and Tottenham
Lumped together for their inability to even eke out a goal in their respective matches where they were expected to win. Goalless. Draw. Boo.
At least no one's going to ask the same old question about the Blues becoming the new Invincibles etc, etc anymore. While Diego Costa enjoyed a stunning start to his life at Chelsea, the Brazilian-born Spanish goal machine has been sputtering of late. With City playing the part of the Terminator and rapidly closing in on them, Mourinho must now find a solution to get his Blues unstuck before their advantage is completely wiped out.
If the Saints' fall from grace in the past few weeks has proven anything, it's that Ronald Koeman doesn't have enough quality in his squad to nudge aside the EPL big boys. Southampton were clearly the superior side against United, but they simply could not convert their dominance into a match-winner.While Koeman has invested well to get the Saints where they are after everyone predicted doom and gloom at St Mary's this season, it looks like more is needed in January if Southampton wish to be more than mere pretenders.
They might not have lost, but Steve Bruce's side have slid into the bottom three with their goalless boring draw against West Brom.
Their position at the foot of the table mirrors their status as the most out-of-form team in the Premier League.