On the eve of the final matches of the year, movement again occurred at the top of the Premier League table. With all 20 teams in action on Boxing Day, there was bound to be some shift in the table by the time the holiday was over.
The biggest match of the day came at the Eithad Stadium as Manchester City hosted Liverpool in a clash of first and third. Both clubs had the opportunity to finish the day atop the Premier League table, but in the end, neither did. Liverpool went up early 1-0 before a pair of goals from City saw the Manchester club seal up a 2-1 victory and move to 38 points, good enough for second, with Liverpool two points and spots behind them.
Before that match, Arsenal traveled to West Ham United for a London Derby. It was an absolutely vital match for the Gunners to win following a loss and draw the Manchester City and Chelsea, respectively. Thanks to the return of Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski’s scoring form, the North Londoners defeated their East London rivals 3-1 and vaulted the Gunners atop the table while leaving the Hammers down in 19th place fighting to avoid relegation.
The other London-based club at the top of the table, Chelsea, played host to Swansea City and walked away 1-0 victors following an Eden Hazard goal. Everton, meanwhile, dropped three crucial points at home to Sunderland after goalkeeper Tim Howard was sent off 23 minutes into the match for bringing down Ki Sung-Yeung in the box. The South Korean then punished The Toffees from the penalty spot and proved to be the decisive goal, dropping them to fifth place and rounding out the clubs separated by a mere five points.
While the Gunners currently sit atop the table, that could change by the time the New Year comes about. With matchweek 19 only a few days away, there are some big matches to look forward to that could alter the table yet again. Leaders Arsenal travel to sixth place Newcastle while Everton hosts ninth place Southampton at the same time. Then, the match of the weekend sends us off into 2014 as Chelsea hosts Liverpool. One of four clubs could be atop the table come Jan. 1; we’ll have to wait a few more days to see who it is.