Arteta's Arsenal off to a slow start as Chelsea falter again at home
Mikel Arteta got off to an underwhelming start as Arsenal manager with a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth as Chelsea slumped to another shock home defeat, losing 2-0 to Southampton, on Boxing Day.
Carlo Ancelotti had a more positive impact on his Everton bow as Dominic Calvert-Lewin's brilliant diving header earned a 1-0 win over Burnley.
Chelsea's defeat allowed Tottenham to move back to within three points of the top four as they came from behind to beat Brighton 2-1 thanks to goals from Harry Kane and Dele Alli.
The top two clash later when Leicester host Liverpool hoping to close the gap on the runaway league leaders to seven points.
Arteta got an early lesson in the flaws that have blighted Arsenal's season as they were caught out trying to play from the back to concede the opening goal when Dan Gosling put Bournemouth in front.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang again rode to the Gunners' rescue to equalise just after the hour mark and Arteta will be frustrated not to have won all three points as Alexandre Lacazette was denied a winner by a last-ditch challenge from Steve Cook.
"It was intense, I was so excited, I just wanted to pass that energy to the players and I really enjoyed it," said Arteta.
"I think we had the chances in the second half to put the game in our favour, but in general in terms of attitude, desire and commitment, it was better than expected."
- No home comfort for Chelsea -
After the highs of victory at Spurs on Sunday as Frank Lampard got one over on his former manager Jose Mourinho, Chelsea again struggled when faced with breaking down stubborn defensive opponents in Southampton.
The Blues have now lost to West Ham, Bournemouth and the Saints in their last four home league games.
"We are being asked a different question at home. At the moment we are not answering them," said a frustrated Lampard.
"We do not manage to pick up that final pass."
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl's decision to rest in-form talisman Danny Ings paid off as his replacement Michael Obafemi scored just his second Premier League goal with a calm finish into the top corner.
The visitors then secured a second straight win to move up to 14th when Nathan Redmond prodded past the onrushing Kepa Arrizabalaga 17 minutes from time.
Everton also put more breathing space between them and the bottom three as Calvert-Lewin provided a rare spark to a game of few chances at Goodison.
"A special day for me, absolutely," said Ancelotti on his return to the Premier League.
"The fact we didn’t concede a goal was important. We didn’t concede a shot, all the team did a good effort."
- Spurs strike back -
Mourinho's Tottenham fell behind again at home to Brighton as Adam Webster headed in midway through the first half.
Spurs were shorn of the suspended Son Heung-min after his appeal against a three-match ban for a kick out at Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger was dismissed.
But two of their other star men stood up to be counted as Kane swept home at the second attempt after his first shot was saved by Mat Ryan.
Alli then delivered all three points with a delightful chipped finish from an acute angle.
"It's hard after a defeat to have confidence and we started poorly, it affects the confidence," said Mourinho.
"In the second half the players put all the negative aside and were very strong in their performance."
Sheffield United are behind Tottenham only on goal difference as they missed the chance to close to within a point of Chelsea in a 1-1 draw with bottom-of-the-table Watford.
Gerard Deulofeu gave the Hornets an early lead as they looked to build on a 2-0 win over Manchester United on Sunday.
However, Oliver Norwood's penalty quickly brought the Blades level and only the brilliance of Ben Foster to deny John Fleck from point-blank range denied Chris Wilder's men a fourth consecutive win.
Crystal Palace climbed up to eighth and within six points of the top four themselves thanks to Jordan Ayew's brilliant individual run and finish a minute from time to beat West Ham 2-1.
Aston Villa won the battle of two of the bottom three as Conor Hourihane's fine strike was enough to beat Norwich 1-0.
© 2019 AFP