While most circuit's take time off during the Christmas holidays, the English campaign ramps up. League-leaders Chelsea host Bournmouth, hoping to increase their lead at the top -- while also looking to grab a club record 12th straight victory. The Blues had been the leaders at the Christmas break on 4-occasions, all four times they went on to win the league.
Chelsea set a club record with its 12th consecutive Premier League victory on Monday, Eden Hazard stealing the show at Stamford Bridge to lead the Blues to a 3-0 triumph over Bournemouth.
And with Diego Costa suspended, Pedro was given a starting nod, as an attacking midfielder, and he gets behind the visitors' defence early, no finsih here, but he would be a problem for the Cherries.
The spaniard then provides a touch of class in the 24th-minute. The former Barcelona player creates space on the edge of the box before chipping the ball into the top corner of the net. Really stunning finish, and that helps the Blues grab a 1-nil lead.
Eden Hazard, would also have a solid outing, and he draws a foul from skipper Simon Francis in the area. Francis' mistimed challenge sent Hazard sprawling inside the box.
The Belgian then convert the resulting penalty sending the keeper the wrong way.
Bournemouth, who won this fixture last season when Jose Mourinho was in charge at Stamford Bridge, would be on the wrong end of the scoreline this time out --- Pedro having the final say with a deflected shot in stoppage time, to make it a 3-nil final.
"Yeah I am pleased. I am pleased because it is not easy to win 12 games in a row. It is not easy. In this league it is tough and today...also this game was very tough. I am pleased for the players because they deserve this. They are showing me great focus, great concentration and a great attitude and great behaviours and it is fantastic, this," Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said.
ARSENAL 1 - WEST BROM 0
And Arsenal would host West Brom. Alexis Sanchez and Granit Xhaka taking their chances from distance. But those ambitious attempts are off the mark.
The visitors would try and get the opener, but Petr Cech would deny those chances.
The Gunners would be looking to get behind the West Brom defence, but Sanchez could not stay onside as the game remains scoreless.
Arsenal started the second half with a bang, drawing a terrific save from Ben Foster.
And then Sanchez hits the woodwork.
The Chilean would continue to seek a breakthrough for his side -- but Foster again is equal to the challenge -- it remains scoreless.
Olivier Giroud, would also have a chance, but his weak header is saved.
But less than five minutes from time, the Frenchman is successful, getting his meaty French forehead on this cross, which eludes the keeper. Arsenal getting a late marker to win it 1-nil.
"You're under pressure before the game (and) it's exactly the tie you don't want (against) West Brom. You're under pressure, you know they defend deep, they are well organised, they are resilient, you are super favourite and you can just have a big problem if you don't win the game because mentally if you don't win for three games it's always difficult," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said.
Elsewhere, Burnley got past Middlesbrough 1-nil, Manchester comfortably beat Hull 3-nil while Leicester's woes continued with a one-nil loss at home to Everton. Henrikh Mkhitaryan made headlines with his outrageous back-heeled goal in Manchester United's three-nil win at home to Sunderland. An improving West Ham defeated Swansea four-one and Watford and Crystal Palace ended in a 1-1 draw.
So Chelsea remain on top with 46 points. Seven points behind them are Guardiola's City, but they could be overtaken by Liverpool if the Reds beat Stoke at home tonight. Arsenal remain fourth while Spurs and Man United are separated in 5th and 6th on goal difference.