The English Premier League closed out 2013 in style, providing several close matches during an intense weekend of action.
It was a disastrous week for Liverpool, who lost a tough contest against Chelsea, while the table's other top clubs added three points to their tally. The Reds dropped out of the top four despite boasting the league's second-highest goal differential (+21) behind Manchester City.
Some squads will wish the new year provided them with a true clean slate in the standings, but there's still plenty of time to make up for the year's shortcomings and resolve for a higher seed.
For now, let's see where every club stands after Matchday 19.
1. Manchester City (41 points)
Perhaps the Blues have spoiled us this season, but a 1-0 win over the cellar-dwelling Crystal Palace does not feel like much reason to celebrate. Nevertheless, City leads the EPL with a rousing 54 goals scored, giving them a sterling plus-33 goal differential on the year.
2. Arsenal (42)
After failing to win a match during a grueling three-game stretch against Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea, Arsenal have bounced back with two straight victories over more manageable opponents. That's enough to keep the Gunners in first place, but Arsene Wenger's club will eventually need to dethrone an elite squad to stay on top.
3. Chelsea (40)
It got hazardous at Stamford Bridge when Eden Hazard continued his breakthrough campaign by breaking the tie with Liverpool during Chelsea's momentous 2-1 victory. The 22-year-old Belgian is already close to exceeding his goal total from last season.
4. Liverpool (36)
Liverpool's loss to Chelsea marked the club's second straight loss, the first time Brendan Rodgers has suffered two consecutive league defeats since taking over as manager in 2012.
According to The Telegraph, Rodgers is remaining calm despite the rough patch: "I think it's open. Christmas Day eating our turkey we were top of the league. A few days and games later we're fifth. I think that's the way it will go between now and the end of the season. I think it's brilliant and it makes it really exciting."
He has good reason to feel that way. The Reds have suffered a slew of injuries and have a favorable schedule with Hull City, Stoke City and Aston Villa popping up in the next three weeks.
5. Everton (37)
While Everton rates sixth in goals scored, it usually takes them a while to get going. Per PremierLeague.com, the Toffees have scored 29 percent of their goals from the 80th minute onward. A whopping 74 percent of their scores have been earned after the 40th minute.
6. Manchester United (34)
Following a four-match winless streak, Manchester United have rallied to win four straight, netting 10 goals in the process. Their surging offense will have a tough task ahead of them on New Year's Day in Tottenham.
7. Newscastle United (33)
After scoring eight goals in their previous two matches, red-hot Newcastle United were tamed by Arsenal in a 1-0 shootout. They mustered up just three shots on goal in a dull affair with the league's first-place club.
8. Tottenham Hotspur (34)
Tottenham Hotspur surrendered 11 combined goals in two matches against Manchester City and Liverpool and 13 throughout their other 17 matches. Tottenham will have to shed that pattern of getting decimated by top teams to break free from the middle of the pack, and their date with Manchester United is the perfect time to start.
9. Southampton (27)
Although they rank ninth on the table, Southampton are eighth in goals scored (26) and fourth in goals allowed (20). In a losing effort to Everton, they controlled time of possession for 55 percent of the match and attempted three more shots.
10. Hull City (23)
In what was an otherwise low-scoring week, Hull City broke out of their shell to pummel Fulham 6-0. Before that offensive awakening, they had scored four combined goals in their last five bouts.
11. Swansea City (21)
Swansea City have not tallied more than one goal in a match since collecting a trio of scores against Newcastle on Dec. 4. With upcoming contests against Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham, they could drop far down the table if that trend does not end.
12. Aston Villa (20)
While Aston Villa have still not found the win column since Dec. 4, they at least earned their first point during that stretch with a 1-1 draw against Swansea City. Despite their struggles, the Lions have kept their matches close, losing only two of their last 10 games by more than a goal.
13. Stoke City (21)
A week after getting torched for five scores against Newscastle, Stoke City relinquished three goals to a normally conservative Tottenham attack. Thoroughly manhandled, Stoke City allowed 20 shots attempts while generating only two of their own.
14. West Bromwich Albion (18)
Take this as you will, but West Bromwich leads the Premier League with nine draws. Hey, it's better than losing, which they've done seven times. The pickings are slim this far down the table.
15. Norwich City (19)
After failing to capture a win against Sunderland or Fulham, Norwich City surprisingly played Manchester United close in a 1-0 defeat. Unfortunately, close losses don't earn any points, which they need to tread water in a tightly knit grouping occupying the table's bottom.
16. West Ham United (15)
West Ham have unsuccessfully gritted through a tough schedule, losing matches to Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal by a combined score of 13-3. Fortunately, some relief now presents itself, with one just opponent in the top seven (Chelsea) lurking in their next eight tilts.
17. Cardiff City (18)
What would cause an owner to boo his own team like Vincent Tan did during Cardiff City's Week 19 draw to Sunderland? Squandering a two-goal lead against the league's worst squad with eight minutes left is a good start. Then again, this is a man who reportedly only wants to sign players who have the number eight in their birth dates, so maybe he's the problem.
18. Crystal Palace (16)
Winners of three of their last six matches, Crystal Palace have played well enough to sneak out of the cellar, but running into Manchester City on Dec. 28 prevented them from gaining any more ground. They've still accumulated a league-low 12 goals this season, scoring zero or one in all but two clashes.
19. Sunderland (14)
They're currently occupying the bottom spot in the standings with just three victories to their credit, but Sunderland have held their own in December. While they won just one match during the month (a stunner over Everton), they haven't lost in any of their previous four affairs.
20. Fulham (16)
The Cottagers have now surrendered 16 goals through their last four matches, placing them firmly in last with 41 goals allowed. That's nine more opposing goals than runner-up Norwich City, so there are major defensive problems to sort out in Fulham.
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