For now, Arsenal are back on top of the Premier League table.
On a day in which many other parts of the world are paying attention to a different kind of football, the Gunners welcomed Crystal Palace, winners of two consecutive EPL contests, to the Emirates. It was a hard-fought match, but they eventually prevailed with a 2-0 victory to earn three key points.
Manager Arsene Wenger talked about his club's title chances following the win, via the Associated Press' Rob Harris:
Wenger on why people doubt Arsenal's title chances: "You have engrained that in your brain and it's very difficult to get out now"— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) February 2, 2014
Arsenal have controlled the top of the table for the majority of the past four months, but a draw to Southampton on Tuesday (Jan. 28) allowed white-hot Manchester City to recapture the lead in what is turning into a scintillating title race.
The Citizens, of course, have a match in hand still, but with an upcoming battle against Chelsea on Monday—albeit at the Etihad, where City have been unstoppable—there's a chance the Gunners could remain on top.
Let's take a look at the updated table following Sunday's matches:
So, apparently, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is healthy.
Coming back from a knee injury that forced him out for nearly five months, the 20-year-old burgeoning star had played just 28 combined minutes in the three previous matches. But on Sunday, he played a full 90 minutes and netted a brace.
Perhaps the most impressive part about Ox's performance was that the typically attacking midfielder or winger did it from a center midfield position. The London Evening Standard's James Olley talked about the transcendent outing, while Squakwa noted his box-to-box movement in his new role:
Asked Wenger last month about Ox playing CM one day soon. He said he was ready now. Tougher opponents to come but this a fine audition. #afc— James Olley (@JamesOlley) February 2, 2014
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's Action Heat Map against Crystal Palace. He adapted incredibly well to his new central role. pic.twitter.com/9xN8wtUF5y— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 2, 2014
Ox will get an opportunity to continue to showcase his versatility next week (Saturday, Feb. 8) when the Gunners travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool, who are barely holding on to a top-four spot after a disappointing result on Sunday.
The Reds have been shaky away from home, and that once again proved true, as spotty defending led to a 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion, who are currently just above the relegation line.
Daniel Sturridge continued his impressive form and put Liverpool ahead with his seventh goal in six matches, leading to this stat from Squawka:
Daniel Sturridge has only failed to score in 3 of the 17 EPL games he's played this season. Consistency the key. http://t.co/dEflh4ezkK— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 2, 2014
It wasn't enough, though, as a gaffe in the back from Kolo Toure led to Victor Anichebe's equalizer in the 67th minute and kept both Everton and Tottenham within striking distance of the top four.
Who will be at the top of the table heading into Week 25?
Following their match on Monday to close out the week, Manchester City will go to Carrow Road to play Norwich, while Chelsea will host Newcastle United—both on Feb. 8.
Then, on Sunday (Feb. 9), Everton will travel to White Hart Lane to take on Tottenham in a match with massive implications at the top of the table, while seventh-place Manchester United will host Fulham.