Champions Arsenal FC started the new year in winning fashion, beating Chelsea FC 3-2 at Highbury to leave their London rivals eight points adrift in third place.
United leave it late
Arsenal's biggest threat now appears to come from Manchester United FC, who are five points behind in second after Paul Scholes added an injury-time goal to David Beckham's 81st-minute equaliser to give them a 2-1 home win over Sunderland AFC.
Desailly own goal
Arsenal won thanks to an early Marcel Desailly own goal and strikes by Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Thierry Henry after 81 and 83 minutes. Mario Stanic and Emmanuel Petit then got two in two minutes for Chelsea but the comeback came too late to prevent Claudio Raineri’s men taking just one point from three games over the holiday period.
Newcastle go fourth
Newcastle United FC climbed up to fourth place, on the same number of points as Chelsea but with a game in hand, after a 1-0 victory over Liverpool FC courtesy of Laurent Robert's 13th-minute free-kick. Everton FC are fifth, two points behind, after a 2-2 home draw with Manchester City FC.
Leeds and Southampton win again
Leeds United AFC made it four wins and a draw in their last five with a 2-0 home success against Birmingham City FC. James Beattie got his 13th of the season as Southampton FC took their unbeaten run to eight with a 1-0 home win over Tottenham Hotspur FC.
Two games postponed
Aston Villa FC beat Bolton Wanderers FC 2-0, while Blackburn Rovers FC overcame Middlesbrough FC 1-0. Charlton Athletic FC against West Ham United FC and Fulham FC against West Bromwich Albion FC were postponed because of waterlogged pitches.