Arsenal sent out a title warning as they moved top of the Barclays Premier League after clinically dispatching a sinking Aston Villa.
Olivier Giroud’s penalty and Aaron Ramsey’s tap in moved them to the summit, a point ahead of Manchester City and Leicester, following a 2-0 win.
The Foxes could regain top spot if they beat Chelsea on Monday but with Manchester United losing at Bournemouth and City struggling to find a rhythm the Gunners have the title advantage.
In contrast, defeat left hosts Villa marooned eight points from safety at the bottom of the table with manager Remi Garde, who won the title with Arsenal in 1998, facing an increasingly difficult job.
They will be bottom at Christmas and face a must-win game at fellow strugglers Newcastle on Saturday having not won in a club record 15 league games.
Villa, one of just seven ever-present teams in the Premier League, have a mountain to climb if they’re to preserve their top-flight status.
Striker Divock Origi’s added-time strike snatched a point for Liverpool in a controversial 2-2 draw with West Brom at Anfield.
The Belgium striker, only on the field because of a potentially serious injury to Dejan Lovren from Craig Gardner’s reckless knee-high tackle, fired in from distance with the aid of a deflection in the sixth of eight additional minutes after the Croatian’s lengthy treatment.
Manager Jurgen Klopp had previously been critical of the fans leaving early because of lack of faith in the team’s ability to recover losing positions but not on this occasion.
The German turned around to the Main Stand and vigorously pumped the air before, at the final whistle, gathering all his players together and walking towards the Kop hand-in-hand in a gesture of thanks.
Newcastle substitute Ayoze Perez scored a dramatic injury-time winner as the Magpies came from behind to snatch a shock 2-1 victory against Tottenham.
Spurs looked on course for another routine victory when Eric Dier headed home in the first half but two Newcastle substitutes turned the game on its head as first Aleksandar Mitrovic equalised with 16 minutes remaining before Perez completed the comeback in stoppage time.
The defeat brings an end to Tottenham’s 14-match unbeaten run in the league while Newcastle climb out of the relegation zone into 15th.