The destiny of the Premier League trophy remains in Chelsea’s hands but Arsenal and Manchester United are trying to ensure it isn’t a procession to the title.
Arsenal overwhelmed Liverpool 4-1 to rise to second and Manchester United beat Aston Villa 3-1 — including an exquisite volley from Wayne Rooney — to go third on Saturday.
But Chelsea had a chance to end the day seven points clear of Arsenal by beating Stoke in the late game, and Jose Mourinho’s team will still have a game in hand on its rivals after that.
Manchester City was dragged down to fourth place without playing, though the champions can return to second on Monday by winning at Crystal Palace.
At the bottom, Leicester and Queens Park Rangers claimed rare away wins to help their chances of escaping the relegation zone. Last-place Leicester beat West Ham 2-1 for its first victory in three months and Bobby Zamora lobbed the goalkeeper to score as Queens Park Rangers stunned 10-man West Bromwich Albion 4-1.
On a day of spectacular goals, Bafetimbi Gomis scored twice — including from an overhead kick — in Swansea’s 3-1 victory over 10-man Hull, which is level with Villa three points above the drop zone.
Southampton’s collapse from being a Champions League contender continued with a 1-0 loss at Everton to remain provisionally sixth.