Chelsea picked up an 11th straight Premier League win when they saw off London rivals Crystal Palace 1-0 on Saturday.
Antonio Conte’s men didn’t have it all their own way at Selhurst Park, yet Diego Costa’s fine header from a Cesar Azpilicueta cross secured the points for the visitors.
It meant that they sat nine points clear at the top overnight, but that gap has since been reduced to seven following Manchester City’s 2-1 victory over Arsenal.
Theo Walcott gave the Gunners the lead but goals from Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling saw Pep Guardiola’s side deservedly clinch all three points, and condemn Arsene Wenger’s Gunners to a second league defeat in six days.
Arsenal are now just a point ahead of North London rivals Tottenham, who came from behind to beat Burnley 2-1 on Sunday, while Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United are just three points further back after they picked up a third consecutive win away by beating West Brom.
Claude Puel’s Southampton moved up to seventh courtesy of a 3-1 success over South Coast rivals Bournemouth, while Stoke missed the chance to get back into the top half after squandering a two-goal lead at home to ten-man Leicester, as they only drew 2-2 against the Premier League champions.
West Ham and Middlesbrough both moved away from the bottom three with vital home wins over Hull and Swansea respectively, while David Moyes’ Sunderland are just a point from safety after narrowly beating Watford 1-0 at the Stadium of Light.
With the Merseyside derby still to come on Monday, it has thus far been an exciting weekend of action in England’s top-flight, with the game of the weekend certainly at the Etihad Stadium, where Man City fans were clearly thrilled with their side’s second half display against the Gunners…
Great win today. Need to play like we did in the second half more often. #mcfc
— JMChap (@JM_Chap) December 18, 2016
Brilliant performance second half. Big win that. Get in! #mcfc
— Luke Taylor (@lukentaylor) December 18, 2016
Definitely a game of two very different halves from #mcfc. More of the second half please.
— Lisa R (@Lis2808) December 18, 2016
Excellent performance by #MCFC today. I thought they did OK first half too, despite criticism. Got the result we should've got v Chelsea.
— Andrew Brindle (@andrewb1970) December 18, 2016
While Arsenal fans were livid with their side’s efforts, once again questioning the team’s mental strength against the better sides…
— BigDaddyElts (@BigDaddyGooner1) December 18, 2016
— Daniel Coffer (@danielcoffer) December 18, 2016
Exactly what happened last season. Top till december only to bottle in january. This time we didnt even hold off till Jan #afc
— Ashgooner (@GunnersGreat) December 18, 2016
And some were not impressed with their side’s second half performance…
Poor performance adds to disappointing result. #Afc.
— Mafia (@DaizGone) December 18, 2016
— Alex Uwins (@AlexUwins) December 18, 2016
Champions Leicester saw Jamie Vardy sent off during the first half against Stoke, a decision many thought was harsh…
That Vardy Red card is a joke. What the hell is happening to our game. Pathetic. Bunch of wimps. Great tackle #lcfc
— Barnesy (@jbnffc) December 18, 2016
Never a red card for Vardy – nothing at all like Rojo's challenge on Wednesday. Excellent spirit from the boys in a tough situation #LCFC
— Tom Foyster (@13thoughts) December 17, 2016
Nevertheless, some Foxes supporters were thrilled to see their side’s fighting spirit come through in the second period…
— Ben Royston (@bbroyston) December 17, 2016
— Guy Kempster (@gkempster) December 17, 2016
Conte’s Chelsea secured an 11th successive win and, although it wasn’t the greatest display, many can see the championship-winning qualities in the Blues team…
Another strong performance from the boys in blue. 3 back to back gritty 1-0's. True signs of a premier league champion.#CFC
— Crinkum Crankum (@chingyarmani1) December 17, 2016
Premier League winning team type of performance that one. Wasn't pretty but professional and got the job done. #CFC
— David (@CFCsocial) December 17, 2016
— Michael Shanahan (@I_Am_Shanahan) December 17, 2016
Yet some have a slight cause for concern ahead of Boxing Day, where they will be without Costa and N’Golo Kante for the visit of Bournemouth…
50 goals in 97 games for Diego Costa. That's 15 less games than Didier. Wow. #CFC
— Dom (@VintageDiegoo) December 18, 2016
Boxing day will say a lot about Chelsea, we are missing our best player this season in Costa and most important in Kante #CFC
— Matt (@2GoalIvanovic) December 17, 2016