Did Manchester United alter the English Premier League's power structure by defeating first-placed Arsenal on Sunday?
For just the second time during the young season, Arsenal was held off the scoresheet in a losing effort. They remain in first place on the EPL table, but other clubs—including the victorious United—are gaining ground on the Gunners.
All 20 squads are still searching for their true identity, but a large enough collection of data is now available to gauge each club's performance as they vie for the title.
Let's take a look at where each club stands heading into Week 12, with their current place on the Premier League table provided in parenthesis.
1. Arsenal (1)
Despite falling short to Manchester United in a 1-0 defeat, Arsenal hold on to the top spot since they still boast the most wins (eight) and points (25) on the table.
Arsene Wenger has managed injuries all season, having adjusted his starting midfield in nearly every Premier League tilt. This time he had to make do without an ill Tomas Rosicky.
Even though they finished on the wrong side of the final tally, Arsenal controlled the ball for 59 percent of the match and generated 10 goal attempts to United's five. Don't expect Arsenal to stay down for long after that loss.
2. Liverpool (2)
Liverpool's attack continued to flourish in a 4-0 trouncing over Fulham. In their last six games, the Reds have notched 16 goals, scoring at least twice during five of those matches.
After seizing his second hat-trick of the season, Luis Suarez has collected eight goals in just six Premier League matches. If he keeps up this scorching pace, Liverpool will be hard to stop.
3. Southampton (3)
On Saturday, Southampton treated us to something we're not used to seeing from them: scoring.
Entering their match with Hull City, Southampton had assembled 11 goals through 10 matches, a discouraging number that was still enough to keep them afloat through tenacious defense. But the offense finally arrived with a four-goal outburst obtained in a balanced, all-round effort.
4. Manchester United (5)
Few squads can hold the likes of Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey off the scorecard, but Manchester United entered uncharted territory by shutting out Arsenal.
Sweetening the pot even more, former Gunner Robin van Persie poured salt in the wounds by grabbing the match's only goal for his new team. The Red Devils have not started the 2013 campaign as well as they would have liked, but there's still plenty of time to wreak havoc on the table.
5. Chelsea (4)
Chelsea probably felt some relief after salvaging a point with Eden Hazard's late penalty kick, but a draw is not the result they foresaw against West Bromwich.
Rather than addressing his players' lapses on the field, manager Jose Mourinho took a back-handed shot at the fans for not providing an exciting environment at Stamford Bridge. Here's what he told The Telegraph after the defeat:
We know Stamford Bridge is not a very hot atmosphere, not a very strong atmosphere normally, and we accept that. But in the last part of the game, when they felt the players were up to have a go and a fight, they were very much behind the team and they support the team.
The guy in the fifth row could have stopped those goals if he had just orchestrated some stronger chants and expressed more cheeriness earlier in the match.
Who's the team to beat in the Premier League?
6. Manchester City (8)
Manchester City lead the Premier League with total goals scored—28—and a plus-16 goal differential, yet they're stuck in eighth place.
A 7-0 stomping over Norwich City on Nov. 2 skews the results a tad, but Sunday's 1-0 loss to Sunderland marks just the second time Manchester City have failed to find the net. Despite the shocking letdown against Sunderland, don't be surprised when the Sky Blues rise up the league.
7. Newcastle (9)
Are Newcastle hitting their stride or do they only relish knocking down the top dogs? Either way, it's time to pay attention to them as a legitimate threat.
Against Tottenham, who prevent goals better than any other squad with just six surrendered all year, Loic Remy scooped up a score in the 13th minute to guide his club to a 1-0 victory over Spurs. That now gives Newcastle shut-out victories over Totthenham and Chelsea in consecutive weeks.
8. Everton (6)
Sullied in a dreadful offensive slump, Everton have not scored a goal in their last three matches.
Failing to locate the net against Totthenham is one thing, but Everton walked away with just one point against last-placed Crystal Palace, who had lost nine of their first 10 bouts. Romelu Lukaku and Co. must wake up soon before they drop out of the top four's reach.
9. Tottenham (7)
There's little margin for error for a squad playing to win every game by a 1-0 tally. Tottenham found that out the hard way against Newcastle.
Held off the scoresheet again, Tottenham have now netted just nine goals this season, the worst total of any team residing in the top half of the Premier League table. Without Gareth Bale, they have struggled mightily to orchestrate an offensive attack.
Their stifling defense keeps them relevant, but their inability to engineer goals keeps them from serious title contention.
10. West Bromwich (10)
With an even record and an even goal differential, West Bromwich belong squarely in the middle of the rankings as the league's most average club.
Although Chelsea controlled possession for most of the match, West Brom performed efficiently on set pieces and created 11 shots, despite maintaining possession for only 32 percent of the game. They're a talented yet inconsistent club that needs to prove they are more than the EPL's measuring stick separating the really good from awfully mediocre.
11. Aston Villa (11)
Finally halting a four-game scoreless drought, Aston Villa compiled a couple of goals to pick up their first win in more than a month. Leandro Bacuna ended the weeks of waiting by sending home a free-kick that gave them their fourth win of the campaign.
12. Swansea City (13)
The only team trapped in the table's bottom half without a negative goal differential, Swansea City maintained their neutral mark with a 3-3 draw against Stoke City. Exiting with one point, however, was a major letdown after Wilfried Bony broke the dead heat in the 86th minute of a high-scoring clash.
13. Hull City (12)
At home, the Tigers have mauled their opponents with three wins and two draws through five matches. But away from KC Stadium, Hull City have won just one of their six showdowns, including a 4-1 beating at the hands of Southampton over the weekend.
14. Cardiff City (14)
Since lighting up the scoreboard with three goals against Manchester City early in the year, Cardiff City have mustered just six strikes during their last eight matches. According to The Bolton News' David Pye, the Football League Championship's Wanderers have acquired Cardiff striker Joe Mason on loan until Jan. 5. Mason had only been allowed playing time in two matches for Cardiff.
15. Norwich City (15)
At first glance, Norwich City's minus-12 goal differential puts them on the express track to relegation, but consider how that unseemly number formulated. Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea have outscored them by 12 during their last three losses. Against more manageable opposition, Norwich City have held their ground.
16. West Ham United (16)
After stunning Tottenham in a 3-0 victory to commence October, West Ham have stumbled, collecting just two goals and two points during their ensuing four matches. They remain an enigma after relinquishing three goals to light-scoring Norwich City.
16. Stoke City (17)
Charlie Adam saved the Potters from their sixth loss by evening the score during added-on time against Swansea City. It's an important point for Stoke City, who are fighting to avoid relegation with just 10 points to their credit after Matchday 11.
18. Sunderland (19)
Previously appearing destined for relegation, Sunderland have now won two of their last three (their only victories of the season) to show a pulse. Oddly enough, Sunderland have now compiled four straight victories over Manchester City at the Stadium of Light.
19. Fulham (18)
No team in the league has collected fewer shots than Fulham, who have 87 when every other squad's mark resides above 100. A tough schedule has not helped, but neither has their lackluster performance and inability to assemble any scoring threats on the opposition.
20. Crystal Palace (20)
Stealing a point against Everton is not enough to take Crystal Palace, who have not won a Premier League match in more than two months, out of the league's cellar. But the squad is slated to receive a lift with captain Paddy McCarthy expected to return after missing 18 months of action. The 30-year-old defender, who has been sidelined with a groin injury, could return soon after the international break according to Sky Sports.