After another exciting weekend of Premier League action, things have only gotten more crowded at the top.
With Arsenal heading into a tough showdown and eyeing the allure of extending their then-five-point lead over the rest of the table, they didn't deliver. Instead, Manchester City did what they do best—score goals at will in Etihad Stadium—and inched within three points of the leaders.
However, it was Jose Mourinho's Chelsea squad that quietly pulled within two points of the league leaders.
Even though a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace wasn't the most enticing of performances, the reality is that the Blues are one fortunate weekend away from potentially topping the table.
Those are far from the only notable scores of the weekend that impacted the top half of the table. With 10 points separating first place and eighth place, clubs are starting to struggle for elbow room in the race for the top four spots.
Let's look at the table and which results over the weekend impacted things the most.
|Premier League Table: Week 17|
Matchday 16 Biggest Results
Tottenham 0 - 5 Liverpool
Tottenham desperately needed an inspiring result Sunday, Dec. 15, facing Liverpool at home. The result they got could not have been more deflating.
With 36,000-plus looking on at White Hart Lane, Spurs' offense decided not to show up. Through the full 90 minutes, Andre Villas-Boas' squad failed to put a single shot on goal.
Liverpool, on the other hand, came out firing from the first minute on, and Luis Suarez wasted no time getting the Reds on the scoreboard in the 18th minute. He would add one more and two assists, wreaking havoc all over the pitch and simply going anywhere he wanted with little resistance from Tottenham's back line.
All of the sudden, Spurs were licking their wounds after a 5-0 drubbing, and critics of Villas-Boas in his young career at White Hart Lane had never been more vocal.
AVB has been under fire since an unfortunate spell of results in November, according to the Daily Mail, and his leash will be getting shorter by the minute after a loss like this. Spurs can't take many more blowout losses in the near future if they want to keep their manager.
Manchester City 6 - 3 Arsenal
Arsenal's splendid and impenetrable defense headed to visit the goal-thirsty Manchester City squad at Etihad Stadium, where City have been an absolute scoring machine. Which of the recent trends would give?
Just look at the scoreline if you're really struggling to answer that.
The two clubs combined for an offensive explosion, and it presented a challenge that the Gunners' simply weren't up to. In the five prior matches in which Arsenal notched three goals, they gave up less than one on average.
What Arsene Wenger's club hasn't been forced to do this season is take punch after punch and give them all right back. They punched back and forth a few times, but City simply had more goals in them and the Gunners couldn't keep up.
Although Arsenal faithful will be kicking themselves at the missed opportunity, things aren't so bad. The Gunners still lead the Premier League, are two points clear of Liverpool and Chelsea and are still performing noticeably well on offense.
My guess is that most Gunners fans would've taken that at the start of the season.
Aston Villa 0 - 3 Manchester United
While Arsenal will certainly take where they are after tempered early-season expectations, the same can't be said for the reigning title winners. In fact, it's the exact opposite.
But all Manchester United could do over the weekend was control their match against Aston Villa, and they certainly did that with a dominating 3-0 victory on the road.
Losers of two straight entering the contest, the Red Devils looked to Wayne Rooney to get them out of an offensive funk and it worked wonders. The English sensation created chance after chance along with his aggressive teammates. His one assist doesn't do justice to his impact on the game.
The recipient of much of that impact was Danny Welbeck, who finished off two early goals that set the tempo for the whole contest. A Tom Cleverley goal early in the second half iced the three points for United.
David Moyes' crew is still 10 points adrift of the lead after the win and sitting in eight place, but there's no doubt that this club is taking one game at a time. The season is young and the table is close at the top, so nothing is impossible at this point.