Leicester moved up to second in the Premier League as a 2-0 victory over Arsenal on Saturday further dented the Gunners’ hopes of a top-four finish.
Chelsea were also 2-0 victors against Crystal Palace as they too jumped above Manchester City into third.
But it was another woeful afternoon for north London’s big two as Tottenham were held 1-1 at home by Sheffield United to slip to 12th.
League leaders Liverpool host City in a highly-anticipated clash between the champions of Europe and champions of England at Anfield on Sunday.
Leicester and Chelsea took advantage of kicking off a day earlier to move a point ahead of City and close to within five of Liverpool.
The Foxes’ superior goal difference takes them into second as second-half strikes from Jamie Vardy and James Maddison piled more pressure on beleaguered Arsenal boss Unai Emery.
Arsenal are now eight points adrift of the top four and will fall even further behind should City avoid defeat at Anfield.
AFP / Adrian DENNIS Christian Pulisic (centre) celebrates Chelsea’s second goal in a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace
Chelsea were equally as impressive with a patient performance to break down a defensively dogged Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge.
Tammy Abraham opened the scoring as the England striker pounced on a deft flick through by Willian seven minutes into the second half.
Christian Pulisic then secured all three points when the American headed home his fifth goal in his last three Premier League games.
“We won the game relatively comfortably,” said Chelsea boss Frank Lampard. “A nice, solid win with a clean sheet.”
– Tottenham, West Ham woe –
AFP / Ian KINGTON Buoyant Blades: George Baldock celebrates Sheffield United’s equaliser at Tottenham
Tottenham were lucky to even escape with a point as Sheffield United impressed once more to move up to fifth.
“The reality is that for different reasons we are not showing the performances that we expect,” said Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino.
“We are not in a good position in the table.”
A rare defensive error from the Blades set up Son Heung-min to open the scoring with his eighth goal of the season just before the hour mark.
David McGoldrick thought he had levelled almost immediately, but after a three-minute delay the goal was ruled out for John Lundstram being millimetres offside in the build-up.
To their credit, Chris Wilder’s men were not downhearted and survived another VAR review when George Baldock’s cross from the right evaded everyone and found the bottom corner.
“I’m more interested in the recovery of my players, how they went for the jugular to try and get back in the game,” said Wilder on the VAR controversy.
West Ham’s woes continued as Manuel Pellegrini’s men were beaten 3-0 at Burnley to stretch their winless streak to seven games.
AFP / Paul ELLIS Ashley Barnes scored the opening goal in Burnley’s 3-0 win over West Ham
Ashley Barnes opened the scoring after 11 minutes as Burnley never looked back.
Chris Wood doubled the hosts’ advantage after earlier having a goal ruled out by VAR for offside and a miserable day for the visitors at Turf Moor was summed up when goalkeeper Roberto punched a corner into his own net.
“When you concede so many easy goals it does not help,” said Pellegrini.
Everton moved six points clear of the relegation zone thanks to a 2-1 win at Southampton to ease the pressure on Marco Silva.
Tom Davies gave the Toffees the perfect start at St Mary’s before Danny Ings equalised early in the second half.
But Richarlison struck the winner 15 minutes from time to secure Everton’s first away league win since March.
Newcastle are now seven points clear of the drop zone as they came from behind to beat Bournemouth 2-1 at St James’ Park thanks to goals from DeAndre Yedlin and Ciaran Clark.
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