Premier League Results: Analysis for Liverpool vs. Cardiff, and All the Matches
The Premier League weekend kicked off with the Liverpool-Cardiff City match on Saturday lunchtime, where two subplots dominated the agenda.
Was this to be Malky Mackay's last match in charge of the Bluebirds after a breakdown in his relationship with club owner Vincent Tan?
And how would Luis Suarez mark the signing of his new contract with the Reds?
The two Manchester clubs, City and United, had rare Saturday 3 p.m. starts against Fulham and West Ham, respectively.
But the match of the weekend was set for Monday night as Chelsea made the trip across London to Arsenal.
Check back throughout the weekend for updates.
All statistics provided by WhoScored.com.
Swansea 1-2 Everton
Everton climbed into the top four with a 2-1 win at Swansea City on Sunday.
All three goals came in the second half. Seamus Coleman put Everton ahead with a swerving strike in the 66th minute, only for Swansea to draw level through a Bryan Oviedo own goal four minutes later.
Ross Barkley continued his fine run of form with the winner, scoring a free-kick six minutes from time.
The win takes Everton into fourth place on 34 points, two points behind leaders Liverpool. Swansea are 11th with 20 points.
On target: 3-6
Southampton 2-3 Tottenham
Tottenham and Southampton served up a pre-Christmas cracker at St Mary’s, with Spurs running out 3-2 winners.
Saints led early on through an Adam Lallana strike, only for the recalled Emmanuel Adebayor to volley home to level the scores.
An own goal from Jos Hooiveld handed Spurs advantage, but Lallana produced a brilliant pass to craft an equaliser for Rickie Lambert.
Adebayor was a thorn in the side of Southampton all afternoon, and he popped up with the winner on 64 minutes to seal the win for Spurs.
Tim Sherwood has made it clear he wants to be the next full-time Tottenham boss, and his side made a statement with a spirited, exciting display.
It could have been easier for Tottenham, but Roberto Soldado missed two huge chances in quick succession in the second half.
On target: 5-3
Liverpool 3-1 Cardiff City
Luis Suarez celebrated his new contract at Liverpool with two first-half goals to send the Reds to the top of the Premier League.
Suarez had already served notice of his intent with early chances, so it came as no surprise when he volleyed home Jordan Henderson's clipped ball into the area in the 25th minute.
The Uruguay international grabbed his second on the stroke of halftime to effectively seal the three points.
Raheem Sterling was also on target—with a great assist by Suarez—in the opening 45 minutes as the Reds took a three-goal lead into the interval.
It was another world-class display by Suarez, and BT Sport analyst and former Liverpool striker Michael Owen used his Twitter feed (@themichaelowen) to say, "Heading home from Anfield having witnessed another master class from Suarez."
Owen hits the nail on the head. Liverpool supporters must have been in dreamland after the South American committed his long-term future to the club.
After several years of underachievement, Anfield is buzzing again with Suarez the fulcrum of the team.
However, the trip to Manchester City on Boxing Day will provide a real examination of Liverpool's Premier League title credentials.
Jordon Mutch pulled a goal back for the Welsh club in the 58th minute when he cushioned a header beyond Simon Mignolet, but Cardiff could not add another to leave Liverpool sweating.
However, Cardiff manager Malky Mackay oversaw a much-improved performance by his team in the second period in what could be his final match with the Bluebirds.
The future of the Cardiff boss has been in doubt this week after a breakdown in his relationship with club owner Vincent Tan. But if this was to be Mackay's last match in charge, it could not have been a worse start, as Liverpool dominated the opening half.
But Mackay clearly gave a team talk to remember, as his players produced a much-improved second-half display.
The visiting fans stayed behind after the match to voice their support for Mackay, after the Scot had left the field to applause from both sets of fans at Anfield.
After the game, Mackay insisted he would not walk away from the club, as Alex Richards of the Daily Mirror reported:
I reiterate 100% that I absolutely will not be resigning from the football club.
I am a proud man to lead this team. Why would I want to leave?
That is something you will have to ask other people.
On target: 7-3
Manchester United 3-1 West Ham United
Goals from Danny Welbeck, Adnan Januzaj and Ashley Young prevented Manchester United succumbing to a third successive home Premier League defeat with a 3-1 win over West Ham.
Welbeck opened the scoring for United in the 26th minute when he held off the challenge of James Collins after a one-two with Wayne Rooney to slot home.
Januzaj doubled the advantage for Moyes' team 10 minutes later when he collected a great ball from Welbeck before evading the challenge of Collins to fire home from 10 yards out.
After a lull in the action at the start of the second period, Young grabbed a third goal when he struck a fierce drive from Rooney's layoff beyond West Ham goalkeeper Adrian in the 72nd minute.
There was some controversy when George McCartney's awful challenge on Javier Hernandez left the Mexican needing lengthy treatment. The West Ham man was shown a yellow card when it could have been red.
Carlton Cole broke the United offside trap nine minutes from time to strike a consolation for the Hammers.
On target: 8-1
Fulham 2-4 Manchester City
Manchester City needed to dig deep to earn a 4-2 win at Fulham on Saturday.
Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany had given City a two-goal lead at half-time, but Kieran Richardson scored his first goal since October 2012 before the Etihad Stadium captain sliced past Joe Hart to make it 2-2.
But late goals from Jesus Navas and substitute James Milner sealed a hard-fought three points for Manuel Pellegrini's side.
Toure opened the scoring for City in the 23rd minute with a tremendous free-kick.
Steve Sidwell brought down David Silva on the edge of the Fulham area, and the Ivory Coast international struck the set piece off the underside of the crossbar.
Kompany added a second two minutes before the interval when he converted from close range.
But the home side clawed a goal back five minutes after the halftime break through the unexpected source of Richardson. The former Manchester United and Sunderland midfielder slotted home after a great run down the right by Adel Taarabt.
After giving City a two-goal lead, Kompany sliced a bobbling ball high over goalkeeper Joe Hart for Fulham's equaliser.
Any momentum gained from the leveler was soon quelled, though, as Navas put City 3-2 ahead when he sent the ball under Maarten Stekelenburg after a great pass from Silva.
Substitute Milner sealed the points moments later when he slotted home a great ball into the area from Alvaro Negredo.
On target: 5-10
West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Hull City
Matej Vydra struck a late equaliser to earn a point for West Brom after Jake Livermore had given Hull City a 28th-minute lead at The Hawthorns.
Hull went ahead with a great piece of counter-attacking football.
David Meyler took control of the ball on the edge of his own area before finding Danny Graham with a ball over the top. The striker progressed well into the Albion half and picked out Livermore, who slid home a tight angle.
Hull had held on throughout the second period, but were undone in the 86th minute. Shane Long back-heeled the ball to Zoltan Gera, and his perfect pass found Vydra, who fired home the equaliser.
On target: 3-3
Crystal Palace 0-3 Newcastle United
Newcastle United moved to three points off the Champions League places with a comfortable 3-0 win at Crystal Palace.
Yohan Cabaye, a Danny Gabbidon own goal and a Hatem Ben Arfa penalty sealed the three points for the Magpies.
Newcastle took the lead in the 25th minute when Cabaye side-footed home with the help of a deflection off Damien Delaney from Moussa Sissoko's neat pull-back.
Six minutes before the break, Newcastle went two ahead when Gabbidon slid Mathieu Debuchy's cross beyond his own goalkeeper, Julian Speroni.
Newcastle sealed the points four minutes from time when substitute Ben Arfa slammed home from the penalty spot after Jonathan Parr brought down Shola Ameobi in the area.
On target: 4-6
Stoke City 2-1 Aston Villa
Charlie Adam and Peter Crouch were both on the score sheet as Stoke City earned a 2-1 win over Aston Villa at the Britannia Stadium.
United States international Geoff Cameron went closest for Stoke in a disappointing first period when his cross-cum-shot was tipped over by Brad Guzan.
But Adam did break the deadlock six minutes after the interval when he passed the ball past Guzan after it was chested down by Crouch.
Midway through the second half, Villa were level through Libor Kozak. He pounced on a woeful header from Erik Peiters and slammed it home to tie the game.
Parity did not last long, though, as Crouch tapped home for the Potters after a mix-up between Guzan and Ciaran Clark.
On target: 2-4
Sunderland 0-0 Norwich City
There was little Christmas cheer for the supporters at the Stadium of Light as Sunderland and Norwich City ground out a 0-0 draw.
The major talking point of the game came in injury-time when Sunderland defender Wes Brown was dismissed for a crude challenge on Ricky van Wolfswinkel.
Brown had earlier hit the post with a header after beating Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy to Michael Turner's sliced clearance.
On target: 4-5
Arsenal vs. Chelsea 8 p.m. GMT