By Toby Davis
Chelsea landed a potentially decisive blow in the Premier League title race with a 2-1 win at Aston Villa on Saturday that put them seven points clear of Manchester City, who self-destructed in a 1-1 draw at home to Hull.
It had briefly looked like both the top two may drop points when Villa ended a near 11-hour goal-drought to level the scores at Villa Park, but a thunderous finish from Branislav Ivanovic maximised the embarrassment for their main title rivals.
City needed a stoppage-time free kick from James Milner to rescue a point against relegation-threatened Hull, but it still left them winless since the start of the month when midfielder Yaya Toure packed his bags for the African Nations Cup.
Prolific Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane marked his first north London derby against Arsenal with a double strike that hauled his side back from a goal down to win 2-1, moving them above their neighbours into fifth place in the table.
Southampton scored deep into stoppage time to beat Queens Park Rangers 1-0, moving them back into third place in an increasingly congested scrap for a top-four finish and Champions League qualification.
Crystal Palace’s resurgence under Alan Pardew continued with a 1-0 win at Leicester City which moved them up to 13th and left their opponents bottom. Swansea City and Sunderland drew 1-1.
Everton host Liverpool in the Merseyside derby later on Saturday.