Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea all kept up the pace at the top of the Premier League.
Arsenal left out captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but still beat Southampton, while on Sunday, Leicester chalked up a 4-0 win over Newcastle, who remain deep in relegation trouble.
Here, the PA news agency looks at five things we learned from the latest round of Premier League matches.
Sterling continues to rise
City maintained their slender advantage at the top of the Premier League with a 1-0 win over 10-man Wolves at the Etihad Stadium. A somewhat scrappy and ill-tempered affair had seen Raul Jimenez sent off for two bookings in quick succession shortly before half-time. City made their advantage count when Joao Moutinho was ruled to have handled a Bernardo Silva cross – despite some suggestion the ball may have actually struck his back. Raheem Sterling, however, showed a cool head to slot in the resulting spot-kick and continue his resurgence in Pep Guardiola’s team, who despite not being at their free-flowing best again, found a way to pick up all three points.
No sentiment for Stevie G on Anfield return
Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard was given a warm reception by the Kop when he walked back out at his old club on Saturday afternoon. The Reds, though, showed they were not about to give their former skipper any chance of going easy as Mohamed Salah’s second-half penalty eventually settled matters and kept them just a point behind leaders City and still one in front of Chelsea in a tense title battle.
Jorginho spot on again for Blues
When Jorginho stepped up to take a stoppage-time penalty against Leeds with the chance to secure what could yet prove to be a crucial victory, everyone in Stamford Bridge had little doubt about the outcome. The Italy midfielder’s spot-kick double on Saturday settled what was a spicy contest and more importantly gave Chelsea momentum again after defeat to West Ham and also dropping points against Manchester United in their previous home game. Jorginho has been playing through a back problem – which Blues boss Thomas Tuchel hopes will eventually prove worth the sacrifice come May.
No one bigger than the club
Arsenal produced a determined display to bounce back from the last-gasp defeat at Everton to see off Southampton 3-0 – and all without skipper Aubameyang. Gunners boss Mikel Arteta revealed the Gabon frontman had been dropped for a “disciplinary breach”, which reportedly concerned a late return from a trip abroad. There is no doubt of what the 32-year-old brings to the side, but the club’s strong stance again showed it always must be the badge on the front of the shirt which matters – whatever the name written on the back.
Only way is still up for Newcastle
After finally securing victory in his fourth match in charge against fellow relegation battlers Burnley last weekend – and Newcastle’s first league win of the campaign at the 15th attempt – the 4-0 capitulation at Leicester on Sunday swiftly brought expectation levels back in check. Nevertheless, results elsewhere leave Newcastle still only three points from safety, albeit with a testing run of games over the unforgiving festive schedule, starting at Anfield on Thursday night.
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