Giroud Cazorla Arsenal
Arsenal playmaker Santi Cazorla celebrates with teammate Olivier Giroud after scoring against Fulham in the English Premier League, 18 January. Reuters

Santi Cazorla was having one of those games, where frustration seemed to follow him around like a faithful dog that just would not leave his side no matter what. Arsenal also seemed to be following down that same path, before a sudden burst of power and verve broke those shackles, left the dog behind and ensured another week on those sunny shores at the top of the English Premier League table.

Cazorla struck two typically Cazorla-like goals to give Arsenal another title-winning-style victory, this time over Fulham, who hung around for a while, posed a few threats, but were eventually foiled by the right and left foot of that magical Spaniard.

Manchester City also kept their chase for top spot well on course courtesy a 4-2 victory over Cardiff, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still winless against the blue side of Manchester.

Alvaro Negredo didn't, surprisingly, get on the scoresheet, but Edin Dzeko did, City's 100th of the season, and so did Sergio Aguero with the other goals coming via Jesus Navas and Yaya Toure.

At the Emirates, It was not vintage Arsenal, even if the first 15 minutes or so looked like it might be. The Gunners started on the front foot from the off, with Serge Gnabry the everpresent busy bee, and Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere the queen bees trying to dictate play.

Ozil nearly opened the scoring for the Gunners, getting in behind the Fulham defence off a Wilshere pass with his shot/cross cleared off the line by Brede Hangeland, who was immense at the back for his side, not only making key clearances, but also marshalling his defence, which had the raw Dan Burn as his central defensive partner, extremely well.

Gnabry tried his luck on a couple of occasions from distance, while Cazorla, much to his frustration, was very much at the periphery for much of the first half, before slowly growing into the game.

Fulham took their time to plant their feet and get some of the possession, but once they did, they looked a good deal dangerous.

Steve Sidwell, the former Arsenal player, forced a decent save out of Wojciech Szczesny, while the goalkeeper had to be alert on a couple of occasions coming out smartly to snuff out chances on goal.

Are-you-sure-you-don't-want-to-sign-me Dimitar Berbatov, dropping off and making runs in behind, posed a constant threat to the Arsenal defence, as the striker pulled the Fulham strings rather well, holding the ball up when needed and pinging those passes at the opportune time.

Arsenal, though, came pretty close in the final moments of the first half, with Cazorla's freekick deflecting off the wall and falling to Bacary Sagna, whose left-footed effort was well saved by Maarten Stekelenburg, with Giroud's rebounded effort also kept out by the Fulham goalkeeper, even if the Arsenal striker was flagged offside.

The second half, Arsenal cranked that gear up, letting go of the handbrake, but it was Fulham that caused an early problem, with the ball bobbling in the home side's penalty box off a corner, before finally being cleared away.

There was much more urgency about Arsenal now, though, with neither the players, the manager nor the fans wanting to take this game right to the death a la Cardiff.

Gnabry sashayed here, and then left the Cardiff defender there before smashing one with his left foot from 17 yards, with Stekelenburg again putting those hands into good use.

Then followed an "Oh man, how on earth did that not go in!" moment for Arsenal with three quickfire shots from inside the box, cleared off the line somehow by a melee of Fulham players.

But that tail was pointing to the North Pole now and the Gunners broke through immediately after in the 57th minute, with Cazorla, in the mood and at his menacing, teasing best, cutting in from the left and laying the ball off the Giroud, who as he does so often, played one of those deft little flicks to Wilshere. The Arsenal midfielder cut the ball back perfectly onto the path of Cazorla, who had continued his run, to fire home first time into the back of the net.

Five minutes later, and it was Cazorla's left foot that did the talking, driving a low effort into the bottom corner after the ball came out to him on the edge of the box.

Relief turned into ecstasy around the stadium with that goal, a goal which showed Arsenal are not even remotely ready to give up that place at the top of the table.

Lukas Podolski, coming on for Serge Gnabry in the final 20 minutes, nearly grabbed a brace in the space of a few seconds, with Sascha Riether making a good block to prevent the first effort from going in, before Stekelenburg pushed one onto his post off a piledriver from the German's left foot.

Manchester City
Manchester City players celebrate a goal against Cardiff in the English Premier League, 18 January. Reuters

At the we-score-goals-for-fun-here Etihad, Manchester City just pressed that goal button, which has been in so much use this season, yet again, with Dzeko opening the scoring against Cardiff in the 14th minute. The Serbian striker trickled one past David Marshall at goal off a cut-back from David Silva, with the Goal Decision System confirming the ball had indeed crossed the line for City's 100th goal of the season.

Cardiff fought back, however, via Craig Noone in the 29th minute, with the midfielder scoring a goal of real quality which even a City player would have been proud of, swerving one side and then the other before slotting it past Joe Hart.

City, though, as is their wont at home, stormed back into the lead courtesy Navas, who latched onto the ball on the edge of the area to ease the ball into the back of the net on 33 minutes.

It took a while, and there was no cricket score coming forth, with Yaya Toure netting the insurance goal on 76 minutes, before Aguero, of course he did, added another to keep City right on Arsenal's tail. Fraizer Campbell scored late on for Cardiff, but the goal came a little too late to affect the final result.

It is onto Chelsea and Liverpool now to cut the gap back to Arsenal, with both Arsene Wenger's men and Manchester City hoping Manchester United and Aston Villa do them a favour.

Results: Sunderland 2-2 Southampton; Arsenal 2-0 Fulham; Crystal Palace 1-0 Stoke; Norwich 1-0 Hull; Manchester City 4-2 Cardiff; West Ham 1-3 Newcastle.