City join Chelsea, Villa hold Man United
David Silva scored twice as defending champion Manchester City continued to fight for its title, beating Crystal Palace 3-0 yesterday to draw level provisionally with Chelsea at the top of the Premier League.
Playing without a recognised striker, City reeled off their sixth league win in succession, and eighth in all competitions, one short of equalling the club record.
It was a performance that made clear Chelsea face a mounting challenge to stay on top as the league heads into its traditionally intense programme of Christmas and New Year fixtures.
1-1 draw at Aston Villa
Silva struck after 49 and 61 minutes to put City in command following a listless first-half and Yaya Touré swept in a third goal with 10 minutes remaining on a day when neighbours and rivals Manchester United's six-match winning streak came to a halt with a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa.
Villa, without a victory over United at Villa Park in 18 games since 1995, went ahead thanks to a spectacular first-half goal by Christian Benteke, but was pushed back in the second-half when Radomel Falcao equalised with a header and played the final 25 minutes with 10 men after Gabriel Agbonlahor was sent off.
Both Chelsea and City have 39 points, but City has played one more game than Chelsea, who travel to Stoke City Monday. Chelsea top the league with a superior goal difference of 23 to City's 22 while United remain third with 32 points.
West Ham stayed fourth on 31, after a 2-0 win against bottom club Leicester. The Hammers are two points ahead of fifth-place Southampton, which ended a run of five defeats with a 3-0 victory over Everton.
Tottenham Hotspur also enjoyed a home win, beating Burnley 2-1 to move up to sixth - ahead of north London rivals Arsenal, who visit Liverpool today, when Newcastle host Sunderland in a north-eastern derby.
Southampton played with great purpose and urgency at St Mary's where a Romelu Lukaku own goal and efforts from Graziano Pelle - his 11th club goal of the season - and Maya Yoshida secured the points.
Tottenham's victory came with goals from Harry Kane - now with 14 goals for Spurs - and Erik Lamela's first league strike, either side of a reply from Ashley Barnes for Burnley.
Charlie Austin hat-trick
The most dramatic individual and team performance saw Queens Park Rangers (QPR) move out of the relegation zone with a 3-2 victory over West Bromwich Albion at Loftus Road.
QPR owed their triumph to the success of striker Charlie Austin whose hat-trick enabled the hosts to recover after falling 2-0 down in the first-half.
Albion raced into a two-goal lead through Joleon Lescott and Silvestre Varela, but Austin hit back with a penalty before adding the equaliser and then an 86th-minute winner.
His treble took his tally to 11 and helped QPR rise from 18th to 15th.