Chelsea heaped more Christmas misery on Liverpool with a 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge and Olivier Giroud’s goal helped Arsenal win 1-0 at Newcastle United to return to the top of the Premier League on Sunday.
Everton moved back into the top four with a 2-1 win over Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur beat Stoke City 3-0 to get their first victory since appointing Tim Sherwood manager as the English game served up more drama in its congested festive schedule.
Chelsea fell behind to a goal from Martin Skrtel after four minutes, but rallied with first-half strikes from Eden Hazard and Samuel Eto’o to inflict a second defeat in four days on Liverpool following their loss at Manchester City.
Arsenal’s win came courtesy of France striker Giroud, who had not scored in all competitions since Nov. 23, but got the faintest of touches to glance a Theo Walcott free kick into the net midway through the second half.
They now top the table with 42 points from 19 games, one clear of Manchester City with Chelsea a point further adrift in third.
Liverpool, top on Christmas Day, dropped to fifth, a point behind local rivals Everton who moved fourth with 37 points thanks to a second-half winner from Romelu Lukaku.
A Roberto Soldado penalty and goals from Mousa Dembele and Aaron Lennon lifted Tottenham to seventh on 34 points.
Liverpool have had the wind taken out of the sails with back-to-back away defeats against fellow title challengers with both games starting brightly for them before turning sour.
They had their tails up after four minutes when Skrtel put them ahead, tapping home from close range after Luis Suarez beat Branislav Ivanovic to a Philippe Coutinho free kick.
That sparked Chelsea into life and they rapidly got on top, with Brazilian David Luiz, drafted into midfield to replace the suspended Ramires, showing why Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho might be tempted to use him there more often.