Matchday 23 got off to an intriguing start on Tuesday, Jan. 29, and that starts at the top of the table.
Arsenal left the door for Manchester City to steal the top spot. Playing at St. Mary's Stadium, the Gunners couldn't do better than a 2-2 draw against Southampton.
This leaves Manchester City just two points back of Arsenal and Chelsea, three. Those two clubs will not be in action until Wednesday when the Citizens will face Tottenham and the Blues take on West Ham.
It could have been worse for Arsenal. Southampton played a strong match, and they came out determined. Jose Fonte netted the match's only goal of the first half, and Southampton missed a couple of opportunities to tack on more goals.
Southampton couldn't extend their lead, however, and it was just three minutes into the second half that Olivier Giroud leveled the score. That goal marked a flurry of activity. Santi Cazorla pulled the away side ahead with a score in the 52nd minute.
Just two minutes later, the match was tied again with a score by Adam Lallana. Neither team scored again.
This brought an end to a five-match win streak by Arsenal, and possibly their stay atop the table.
Check out the full standings, and then I'll take a closer look at some of the results.
|EPL Table after Matchday 23|
Manchester United 2, Cardiff City 0
Manchester United won their third straight home match on Tuesday. In a typical year, that is barely worth mentioning. This year, however, that feat has been far rarer than anyone's grown accustomed to.
Of course, this victory over cellar-dwelling Cardiff City is notable for other reasons. This was the Manchester United debut of fresh Chelsea transfer Juan Mata.
Mata helped spur a quicker and sharper passing attack for the Red Devils. This helped Robin van Persie net a goal in just the sixth minute of his first game back since returning to fitness.
Despite the return of van Persie and Mata's debut, it was Ashley Young who stood out the most. He netted the second and final goal of the match with a brilliant right-foot strike from 25 yards out. That highlighted a well-played match for Young.
The Red Devils are still far from a complete product. They struggled in midfield and lowly Cardiff was able to out pass them, but this performance was a step in the right direction for this club's return to prominence.
Liverpool 4, Everton 0
In the 222nd Merseyside derby, Liverpool made their rivals look like they didn't belong on the same pitch.
The Reds came out determined to defend their home pitch, and it was clear from the start that Liverpool were intent on sending Everton off in defeat.
Steven Gerrard opened up the scoring with a blast in the 21st minute. That was Gerrard's only goal on the day, but it was just a small part of a fine match for the captain.
Daniel Sturridge made sure that Everton wouldn't get any dreams of a comeback. He netted two goals before the first half came to a close.
With Liverpool opening the second half with a 3-0 advantage, Luis Suarez must have got jealous of all these goals flowing without any of them coming off of his foot. So he joined the scoring party and added his 23rd goal the season—and the final statement in Liverpool's dominant 4-0 win.
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