Manchester City is romping around in the title chase, but on Sunday, when first Manchester United and then Everton lost points to sides written off as relegation fodder, the Premier League continued to throw up surprises.
United had the chance to cut City’s lead to five points, but at second-bottom West Bromwich Albion, they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw.
Everton then missed a chance to move level on points with Liverpool’s fourth-placed city rivals having played two fewer games, but endured a 2-0 loss to lowly Fulham at home.
Arsenal returned to the top half of the table in 10th position, however, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang marked his first start after an absence to score a hat-trick in a 4-2 home victory over Leeds United for private family issues.
As they lost a sixth consecutive league game, Southampton’s slide intensified, going down 2-1 at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers for whom Pedro Neto bagged a superb winner.
At home to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday, Manchester City’s 11th straight league win put them on 53 points from 23 games with United and Leicester City, who beat Liverpool 3-1 on Saturday, both on 46 out of 24.
Liverpool trail on 40 points, and if Chelsea at least draws and West Ham United win on Monday, they could drop to sixth.
Early on at the Hawthorns, West Brom took the lead through on-loan Senegalese striker Mbaye Diagne’s header. The response from United was lackluster before Bruno Fernandes, the inspiring Portuguese midfielder, volleyed home in the 44th minute.
With defender Harry Maguire having a 95th-minute header tipped onto the post, United then dominated the second half.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, despite the setback, said his side could still chase down City.
We’re not going to let them (City) run away with it—we’re going to play them soon. We don’t give it away at an early stage—no, we don’t,” he said.
For Everton, the door looked wide open to make a big statement about their top-four credentials, but Carlo Ancelotti’s side created a dismal display against Fulham, who since November claimed a first league victory.