After a short hiatus for the last international break of 2013, the Premier League returned with a bang on Saturday, with a breathtaking Merseyside derby getting proceedings underway on Saturday afternoon.
Arsenal faced Southampton in a top-of-the-table clash later in the day at the Emirates Stadium, while Sunderland and Crystal Palace—the latter having finally appointed a new manager—were both hoping to end the day off the foot of the table.
Sunday saw the two Manchester clubs in action. Click on for all the analysis of the weekend's games.
Shane Long appeared to have inspired Albion to a Midlands derby win with two fine first-half goals at The Hawthorns.
But Karim El Ahmadi clawed Villa back into the game in the 67th minute, before Westwood hit a fine strike beyond Boaz Myhill nine minutes later.
Republic of Ireland striker Long brilliantly controlled a long diagonal pass from Chris Brunt in the third minute before making space beyond Nathan Baker to beat Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
The former Reading forward took full advantage of a misplaced pass by Leandro Bacuna eight minutes later when he collected the ball and ghosted past Baker before clipping the ball over Guzan.
Stephane Sessegnon should have made the points safe as early as the 19th minute, but he missed an open goal from a Morgan Amalfitano cross.
Villa eventually found their feet after such a poor opening period for them, and El Ahmadi pulled a goal back for Lambert's side in the 67th minute when a poor Bacuna cross was given extra help into the area by a headed flick from Andreas Weimann.
And nine minutes later, Villa were level through Westwood. A poor headed clearance from West Brom defender Goran Popov dropped to the feet of the Villa midfielder, who controlled it well before sending an excellent right-foot drive past Myhill.
On Target: 4-7
Manchester United lost ground on the leaders after being pegged back late on by Cardiff City in a 2-2 draw.
United had won three games on the spin coming into the game, but a late goal from Kim Bo-kyung earned Cardiff a point.
Wayne Rooney fired United ahead with a deflected strike on 15 minutes, but arguably should not have been on the pitch after kicking out at Jordan Mutch a few minutes before opening the scoring.
Cardiff’s Ben Turner was interviewed by broadcaster Sky Sports immediately after the game and he was happy Rooney was not sent off.
From where I was, I do think he kicked out. But the way the game is going, I didn’t want him sent off as it is becoming less and less of a physical game. I think we need to keep some of that element in the game for the enjoyment of the fans.
Cardiff are tough nuts to crack on their own patch and a neat move involving Gary Medel and Mutch freed Fraizer Campbell to level the scores.
United shook off the setback and on the stroke of half-time, Patrice Evra climbed high at a corner to head the Premier League champions back in front.
Cardiff threw plenty at United in the second half and were rewarded when Kim headed home a free-kick in the dying embers of the contest.
Rooney had a chance to win the match after being picked out by Ryan Giggs, but he was caught in two minds when attempting to tee up Danny Welbeck and the chance went begging.
Possession Percentage: 50.1-49.9
Passes Completed: 295-310
Sergio Aguero and Jesus Navas scored two goals each as Manchester City humbled Tottenham Hotspur 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
Navas opened the scoring after just 15 seconds of the game before a Sandro own goal gave the home side a two-goal cushion after 34 minutes.
Aguero then doubled that advantage with goals either side of the half-time interval, and Alvaro Negredo added a fifth for City after 55 minutes.
In the second minute of injury time, Navas added the sixth goal for City to leave Spurs humiliated.
The win fired City up the table and into fourth place, above Southampton on goal difference.
The painful defeat saw Tottenham drop below Newcastle on goal difference into ninth spot.
On Target: 10-5
A late goal from substitute Daniel Sturridge was the crucial final intervention of this remarkable Merseyside derby, as Everton and Liverpool played an enthralling 3-3 draw at Goodison Park.
In Saturday's early kick-off, Liverpool twice led thanks to first-half goals from Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez, with Kevin Mirallas' early equaliser ensuring the Toffees only had a half-time deficit of one.
Two second-half goals from Romelu Lukaku then looked like giving the home side a remarkable victory, before Sturridge nodded home Steven Gerrard's late free-kick to ensure the two sides shared the points after a thriller.
Afterwards, Reds boss Brendan Rodgers said:
It was a terrific game. I've been involved in a few and they are real heart-stoppers.
We again showed our resilience and ability to fight back. This is a difficult place to come and they haven't lost at Goodison Park this year.
We should have gone 3-1 and that would have killed the game. After that we couldn't keep ball. I'm disappointed with defending from the corner [from which Romelu Lukaku scored] and we have to be stronger. All-in-all a wonderful game and when you come to your rivals it is important not to lose.
The draw nevertheless prevented Liverpool from briefly ascending to the top of the Premier League table.
On target: 12-5
Pass completion: 79%-75%
Two goals from Olivier Giroud enabled Arsenal to put Southampton to the sword on Saturday, although the Frenchman had others to thank for both the goals.
The first was a veritable gift from Saints goalkeeper Artur Boruc, the Pole twisting himself in knots trying to evade the Frenchman, eventually getting tackled and embarrassed as Giroud put the ball into the unguarded net.
Then, with under 10 minutes remaining, Giroud was able to clinch victory from the penalty spot after Jose Fonte was adjudged to have fouled Per Mertesacker.
Giroud duly made no mistake, ensuring Arsene Wenger's men remain top of the Premier League table.
Afterwards, Giroud said:
They [Southampton] have improved themselves [since losing 6-1 at Emirates Stadium last season]. That's why they are third in the table.
We really wanted to play the game from the start and really respected this team. We were a bit lucky on the first goal, but I think that really helped us for the rest of the game.
I didn't give up on my duel with the keeper. Usually I used to go too quickly and he could dribble me, but this time I stand on my legs and was a bit lucky, took ball and scored. It's nice for the team.
Two days before [the match] I lost my grandfather so I'm really motivated to dedicate these goals to him and I hope he is proud of me in the sky.
On target: 4-4
Pass completion: 81%-77%
Chelsea breezed past West Ham in Saturday's late kick-off, as Frank Lampard added two more goals against his former club in a 3-0 success.
Chelsea's task was made much easier by their opponents, who effectively gave up the opening goal of teh game after Guy Demel's woeful attempted backpass left Jussi Jaaskelainen somewhat helpless as he brought down the lively Oscar.
Lampard stepped up and duly blasted home the resultant spot-kick.
It was soon 2-0 thanks to Oscar himself, after good work from Eden Hazard—before Lampard sealed a comfortable three points in the second half with his second of the game.
On target: 1-8
Pass completion: 77%-82%
An 81st-minute goal from Barry Bannan was enough for 10-man Crystal Palace to beat Hull City on Saturday afternoon, in a game that saw new Eagles boss Tony Pulis watch from the stands.
Pulis, confirmed as Palace's new boss on Saturday morning, saw Bannan slide home after fantastic work from Cameron Jerome to confirm all three points for the Eagles—just moments after Yannick Bolasie had been given a red card in dubious circumstances, following a foul on the edge of the penalty box.
Hull had their chances to go ahead earlier in the contest, and to get a point later on, with Yannick Sagbo well denied by Julian Speroni at one point and Jake Livermore then seeing his long-range effort rebound away off the post as the game entered injury time.
Palace moved off the bottom of the table after their win, edging ahead of Sunderland on goal difference.
On target: 2-2
Pass completion: 75%-65%
First-half strikes from Loic Remy and Yoan Gouffran were enough as Newcastle claimed a 2-1 home victory over Norwich City on Saturday.
The Canaries were woefully off the pace for much of the contest, but Leroy Fer's 80th-minute header gave them hope of snatching a surprise point, with Alan Pardew watching his side survive a nervy closing few minutes.
Nevertheless they held on to claim the three points.
"I thought we looked a little tired in the second half," Pardew said. "Norwich had a good second half but I felt we were in control of the game.
"That is a third win on the trot and a big, big win. This was as important as beating Chelsea and Spurs.
"We are looking really solid and have good influence off the bench. We are in good shape. We deserved to win. I don't think we were brilliant but the most important thing was the three points."
On target: 5-2
Pass completion: 84%-76%
Jonjo Shelvey found the net late to seal a deserved victory for Swansea City against Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Swansea looked to be well on their way to the three points when Aaron Hughes turned into his own net shortly before the hour-mark, but Scott Parker scored with a sumptuous chip not long after to put Martin Jol's side back on terms.
That would not be enough to claim a point, however, as substitute Shelvey popped up to rifle home the winner with nine minutes remaining.
On target: 3-5
Pass completion: 77%-87%
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet was left fuming—and his side at the foot of the table—after they were beaten 2-0 by Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.
Poyet could not believe it when Wes Brown was shown a 36th minute red card for what appeared to be a fair challenge, shortly after Charlie Adam had given the home side the lead.
Then, with 10 minutes remaining, Steven N'Zonzi wrapped up the win for manager Mark Hughes—his 100th in the Premier League—with a composed chipped finish.
On target: 5-3
Pass completion: 83%-85%