A full midweek fixture list of Premier League action kicked off the festive period in enjoyable fashion.
Leicester and Swansea’s mini-revivals came to abrupt stops against Bournemouth and West Brom, while Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United ground out another important three points, despite Craig Pawson’s lack of Christmas cheer.
Middlesbrough were devoured by Liverpool (sans Karius), while Arsenal found their late choke on the Toffees hard to swallow.
Here’s a roundup of some of the best moments from a fascinating midweek of Premier League football.
The Reds exercised the ghosts of West Ham and Bournemouth with a commanding win over Middlesbrough, prompting Aitor Karanka joined an ever-growing list of managers to cite Klopp’s charges as the best he’s faced this season.
Divock Origi netted for the fifth successive game, to round off an exceptional team move and put his side 2-0 up, in what was arguably to the goal of the gameweek.
Arsenal’s midweek hangover was Everton’s gain, as the Toffees fought back to secure their first Premier League win in six.
Ronald Koeman’s men showed why they are the side with the most points taken from losing positions this season, lulling the Gunners into a false sense of security, after Alexis Sanchez’s deflected free kick.
Defensive duo Seamus Coleman and Ashley Williams both excelled, in exposing weaknesses previously considered gone from Arsene Wenger’s side, and Williams’ late winner, secured a result as memorable as it was important.
Craig Pawson endured an uncomfortable night at Selhurst Park, ignoring valid handball calls from both sides, failing to give Marcus Rojo his marching orders for an ugly two-footer and controversially ruling out Juan Mata’s goal.
One to forget.
Cesc Fabregas’ return to prominence saw off Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, but Thibaut Courtois had just as much of a hand (literally) in the result, when the Belgian went full-stretch to deny Patrick van Aanholt in injury time.
‘If Messi had done that..’ as the old footballing cliche goes.
Without wishing to succumb to hyperbole Damien Delaney’s back-heel, slide-rule assist for James McArthur to equalise for Palace was worthy of someone with a far more exotic name.
Most Heartfelt Moment
Five-year-old Bradley Lowery fulfilled every boy’s dream (and something Daniel Sturridge has yet failed to do this season) by scoring in a Premier League game, expertly netting his half time penalty past Asmir Begovic.
The young cancer sufferer and Black Cats fan, who has had £700,000 raised for his treatment, was made mascot for Sunderland’s encounter with Chelsea and enjoyed a kickabout with an uncharacteristically mild-mannered Diego Costa, and his favourite player Jermain Defoe.