The Chelsea juggernaut rolled along its merry way, while Manchester United made it four wins on the bounce with Arsenal bouncing back from two disappointing results with a much-needed win as Boxing Day produced a few spills, a few thrills and a fair bit of "that was always going to happen" predictability.
While Chelsea and Manchester United continued their wonderful recent runs, Arsenal nearly went into "they are most definitely now in crisis" mode, before a late goal from Olivier Giroud rescued Arsene Wenger's side. The win means Arsenal remain nine points behind Chelsea, who eased past Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge.
A goal in the first half and a couple in the second were more than enough to take Chelsea, without Diego Costa and N'Golo Kante, to their 12th straight win in the Premier League – a club record – and move further clear at the top.
Pedro opened the scoring for the London side, looping the ball over Artur Boruc via a deflection. It was game over in the 49th minute, when Eden Hazard, after winning the spotkick when he was brought down by Simon Francis, slotted home from the penalty spot, before Pedro completed his brace and added the icing right at the end.
It was not a sweet Old Trafford return for David Moyes, with a Juan Mata goal starting off a stroll for Manchester United against Sunderland at Old Trafford. The first goal came in the 39th minute, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic laying off a perfectly weighted pass for the left-back to strike sweetly into the bottom corner.
Then Ibrahimovic got on the scoresheet with a goal in the 82nd minute – Paul Pogba getting the assist – before the brilliant Swede laid on a goal for the returning Henrikh Mkhitaryan to complete a satisfying afternoon for Manchester United with a ridiculously-good backheel goal. Fabio Borini got a consolation goal in stoppage time, but the three points for the fourth straight time means the Manchester United season has now well and truly started.
For 86 minutes at the Emirates, it looked like Arsenal would endure a third consecutive match without a win in the Premier League. But then, Giroud, given a rare start this season, popped up with what could prove to be a crucial goal in the context of their entire season. Mesut Ozil was the provider, floating in a ball from the right, which Giroud brilliantly header over Ben Foster after outmuscling Gareth McAuley.
It was a win that Arsenal completely deserved having dominated West Brom for the whole match. Foster was called into making plenty of fantastic saves, chief of them off Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean, who also struck the post, could have a hat-trick but for the West Brom goalkeeper's brilliance.
Arsenal, however, kept banging on the West Brom door and it eventually opened when Giroud brought all his heading powers to the fore, and with the London club keeping their first clean sheet in nine Premier League matches it ensured a precious three points.
Leicester City's miserable title defence continued as Claudio Ranieri's men went down 2-0 to Everton – Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku with the goals for Ronald Koeman's side.
Results: Watford 1-1 Crystal Palace; Arsenal 1-0 West Brom; Chelsea 3-0 Bournemouth, Manchester United 3-1 Sunderland; Leicester City 0-2 Everton; Burnley 1-0 Middlesbrough; Swansea City 1-4 West Ham; Hull City 0-3 Manchester City.