The best of the Premier League are continuing to get better through Matchday 27.
Chelsea held on for a tough test at Stamford Bridge against Everton on Saturday, winning 1-0 while Arsenal were able to keep pace with them with a 4-1 drubbing of Sunderland. The Blues sit at 60 points, while Arsene Wenger's squad is just one point back.
Manchester City also took care of business on Saturday. But there are still plenty of matches left on the slate heading into Sunday that will continue to shape how the top of the table is formed.
Here is a breakdown of the updated league table and results from the weekend.
|10||West Ham United||27||8||7||12||-3||31|
|Feb. 22||Chelsea vs. Everton||1-0|
|Feb. 22||Arsenal vs. Sunderland||4-1|
|Feb. 22||Cardiff City vs. Hull City||0-4|
|Feb. 22||Manchester City vs. Stoke City||1-0|
|Feb. 22||West Bromwich Albion vs. Fulham||1-1|
|Feb. 22||West Ham United vs. Southampton||3-1|
|Feb. 22||Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United||0-2|
|Feb. 23||Liverpool vs. Swansea City||4-3|
|Feb. 23||Newcastle United vs. Aston Villa||1-0|
|Feb. 23||Norwich City vs. Tottenham Hotspur||1-0|
Chelsea 1 - 0 Everton
Thanks to a stoppage-time goal from newly returned defender John Terry, Chelsea were able to stay atop the Premier League with a 1-0 win at home over Everton.
The two sides stalemated to a draw through 90 minutes, until Everton's Phil Jagielka picked up a yellow card two minutes into stoppage time. Frank Lampard took it, the ball tipped off Branislav Ivanovic and found Terry. He buried it into the back of the net to guarantee the three points.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho showcased just how valuable the win was, per the club's official Twitter account:
JM: 'If today we had a draw, I think in a couple of hours we would be third in the table. This is the reality in this competition.' #CFC— Chelsea FC (@chelseafc) February 22, 2014
Chelsea dominated on offense, turning many of their touches into scoring chances. The Blues fired 25 shots and eight went on goal, the last of which turning out to be the fateful one.
Everton held a 53 percent possession advantage, but couldn't turn that into valuable scoring chances and were instead left trying to hold onto a draw that slipped away late. The Toffees are now winless in their last five away league fixtures.
Arsenal 4 - 1 Sunderland
Coming off a midweek Champions League loss to Bayern Munich at home, the Gunners desperately needed a feel-good win at Emirates Stadium to get back to their winning ways in the Premier League.
That's exactly what they got, as Arsenal dominated Sunderland en route to a 4-1 victory.
Olivier Giroud, after mysteriously sitting out during the Bayern clash, started and scored twice in the first half. He got Arsenal on top early with his fifth-minute goal and added another in the 31st minute. Tomas Rosicky and Laurent Koscielny each added one in the second half.
Sunderland are still in the relegation zone after the loss, while Arsenal are just one point off Chelsea's EPL table lead.
Crystal Palace 0 - 2 Manchester United
No results have come easy for Manchester United this season. The Red Devils have struggled mightily in David Moyes' first year as manager.
But they were able to put that behind them for one half as United picked up a 2-0 road victory at Crystal Palace.
The two sides were tied after one half as United could not sustain offensive pressure despite dominating possession. But eventually, the star-studded attacking front of Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata broke through.
Van Persie scored in the 62nd minute on a penalty and Rooney broke through just six minutes later. That was all United needed to hold off a Crystal Palace squad that put six shots on goal but couldn't find the net.
United move into a tie for sixth place with Everton following the victory.
Liverpool 4 - 3 Swansea
Liverpool's leaky defense nearly cost them points again, as Swansea fought back from a 2-0 deficit and then a 3-2 deficit before finally succumbing 4-3 following a 74th-minute goal from Jordan Henderson.
Daniel Sturridge started off the scoring, as he dribbled past Michel Vorm and fired into an empty net in the third minute of the match. Raheem Sterling delivered a brilliant through ball that set the goal.
Henderson doubled the lead in the 20th minute, with a brilliant shot into the top left corner. Although the midfielder had all day to shoot, he placed his effort perfectly, leaving Vorm no chance to save.
From there, it looked like another Anfield riot for the Reds.
Then Jonjo Shelvey halved the deficit three minutes later with a goal from out of nowhere. Nathan Dyer's pass across the pitch looked a little too fast for Shelvey, but he hit it flush.
Just four minutes after that, Wilfried Bony found the first of his two equalizers, as his header deflected in off Martin Skrtel.
Sturridge put Liverpool back on top in the 36th minute, as he headed in a great cross from Luis Suarez.
The Reds carried the lead into the second half, but they wouldn't have it for much longer.
Bony was brought down by Skrtel in the 18-yard box in the 47th minute. For those arguing that it may have been a soft penalty, think back to how many times the Slovakian centre-back is seen on replays grabbing the shirt of an opposing player on free kicks and corners. Sooner or later, he's be caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
The Ivorian striker slotted the penalty home in the bottom left corner, past a sprawling Simon Mignolet.
Liverpool supporters would have to wait a while for the eventual winner, but that made the victory all the more sweet.
There's no doubt, though, that the Reds' poor defensive record could come back to haunt them. Improvement must be made if the club truly wants to be a title contender.
Even Brendan Rodgers was forced to admit that it's a significant problem, per ESPN FC's Richard Jolly:
And Rodgers said: “We did not defend anywhere near well enough in any aspect.
“The problem is it is not coaching. Some of the things we concede goals in, you can’t coach that. There’s a feel when you are in the game of how to defend and you have to use your experience to defend properly.
“We concede poor goals. It isn’t so much structurally. It’s mistakes or decision making that cost us.”
As good as Sturridge and Suarez are, they can't keep bailing out Skrtel and Kolo Toure.