Liverpool slipped from first to fourth in the Premier League after losing 2-1 at Manchester City on Thursday, leaving Arsenal in first place following a frantic Boxing Day program.
Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool started the day in first place and they made an impressive start at the Etihad Stadium, with Philippe Coutinho giving the visitors a 24th-minute lead after a neat team move.
However, City captain Vincent Kompany headed home an equalizer seven minutes later and Alvaro Negredo put the hosts in front on the stroke of half-time with a tame shot that Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet could only palm into the net.
City, who have now won all nine of their home games this season, climb to second place, a point behind Arsenal, while Liverpool, for whom Raheem Sterling spurned a fine second-half chance, are three points off the pace.
Earlier, Theo Walcott had scored twice as Arsenal came from behind to win 3-1 against West Ham United at Upton Park.
Arsenal spurned several first-half chances and they were punished early in the second period when Carlton Cole put the hosts in front after Wojciech Szczesny spilled a shot from Kevin Nolan.
However, Walcott struck twice in three minutes to turn the game around, before Lukas Podolski crowned his comeback from a hamstring injury with a low strike in the 79th minute.
Chelsea also leapfrogged Liverpool, moving up to third place by beating Swansea City 1-0.
Belgian winger Eden Hazard scored the game’s only goal in the 29th minute at Stamford Bridge, cutting in from the left in familiar fashion before letting fly with a low drive that squeezed beneath Gerhard Tremmel.
Everton’s hopes of making further ground on the Champions League contenders were thwarted, however, as they crashed to a 1-0 defeat at home to bottom club Sunderland.
Ki Sung-yueng scored the game’s only goal from the penalty spot in the 25th minute, after Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard was sent off for a foul on the South Korea international.
It was Sunderland’s first away win since April and left Gus Poyet’s men three points from safety.
Manchester United doggedly overturned a two-goal deficit to win 3-2 at Hull City and register their fifth consecutive victory in all competitions.
Early goals from James Chester and David Meyler gave Hull a 2-0 lead, only for Chris Smalling and Wayne Rooney, with a sumptuous volley, to bring United level, before Chester scored a 66th-minute own-goal.
Newcastle United closed to within three points of the Champions League places by coming from behind to overwhelm nine-man Stoke City 5-1 at St James’ Park.
Stoke took the lead through Oussama Assaidi, but they had Glenn Whelan and Marc Wilson sent off, allowing Newcastle to prevail through a Loic Remy brace, and goals from Yoan Gouffran, Yohan Cabaye and Papiss Cisse.
Tottenham Hotspur’s new permanent head coach Tim Sherwood saw his side draw 1-1 at home to West Bromwich Albion, for whom Jonas Olsson canceled out Christian Eriksen’s 36th-minute free-kick.
Southampton, meanwhile, ended a run of six games without victory by winning 3-0 at Cardiff City through a Jay Rodriguez brace and a Rickie Lambert strike.
Scott Parker scored a stunning 87th-minute winner as Fulham won 2-1 at Norwich City, but they remain in the bottom three due to Crystal Palace’s 1-0 win at Aston Villa, which lifted Tony Pulis’s men out of the drop zone.