Arsenal are now fourth, level on 34 points with Liverpool who have a chance to move into second when they face ninth-placed Everton in Monday Night Football.
After nine big games for teams at both ends of the table, here are 10 things we learned the Premier League weekend…
1. Raheem Sterling has world-class potential
Playing all across the frontline, Sterling was excellent against Watford in midweek and again here.
He has clearly been earmarked by Guardiola as one of his ‘projects’ and has, in the main, responded the challenge. As his goal exemplified, most dangerous cutting in from the flank.
2. Sanchez might need a rest
His pass for Theo Walcott’s goal was a pearler but there were one or two signs Alexis Sanchez – him with the unquenchable thirst for hard work – might benefit from a short break over the festive period.
He lost out in a sprint against Aleksandar Kolarov and faded as the contest wore on. Mesut Ozil might use one as well.
3. Danny is England’s Rose
If Adam Lallana is seen as the best-performing English player right now then surely Rose is up alongside him. No player deserves to grab the headlines more.
The Spurs left-back was his side’s best player here, driving forward to prompt attacks but with so much in the tank that he was able, easily, to track back to maintain his defensive priorities.
It is easy to see why the likes of Manchester City looked long and hard at Rose before he committed himself to a new and improved deal at White Hart Lane.
Rose has improved out of all recognition under Pochettino and his star is continuing to rise.
4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is Man United’s Duracell Bunny
Ibrahimovic is still going strong at 35 and he has played in 25 of United’s 27 matches this season, including the Community Shield. He showed why Jose Mourinho cannot rest him by scoring twice to take his tally for the campaign to 16. He is bang in form and his double took his run to 10 in his last nine games.
He also sails close to the wind and was booked for taking out Craig Dawson as they challenged for a high ball.
5. Lepers never change their spots
Diego Costa’s fifth booking of the season was 84 days in the making, and rules him out of Chelsea’s Boxing Day date with Bournemouth.
How much his absence will affect the dynamic of Antonio Conte’s side, or knock the leaders out of their stride, remains to be seen.
After 10 games of monastic restraint, it was a return to Costa’s darker side – but you can’t keep a prolific goalscorer down for long, and a minute before the break he was back on the scoresheet.
6. No money to spend, club up for sale but players stand tall…
David Moyes revealed he was lured to Sunderland by Ellis Short’s false promises.
But he also insists he isn’t walking away from the challenge at the Stadium of Light which is getting tougher by the week.
Not getting cash to strengthen his poor squad in January is a blow, but Moyes asked his players to “stick their chests out” and get on with the job.
They’ve now won 4 of their last seven games.
7. Rodriguez to the rescue
Where are the Saints goals going to come from? Bemoaned fans and press alike after Charlie Austin was ruled out for four months with a shoulder injury.
Step forward Rodriguez, Claude Puel tentatively said, and it may have been a scrappy pinch off Steven Davis but he delivered.
Over 53 hours Puel had been waiting for strikers Shane Long, Nathan Redmond and Rodriguez to fire.
Help from around the pitch had been much needed as well, and although Bertrand is an unlikely netter, Saints sill take them from anywhere.
8. Two wrongs make a red
Regular referee watchers cannot have failed to notice that the man who sent off Jamie Vardy was the same man who was criticised on Wednesday for failing to brandish a red card to Manchester United’s Marcos Rojo.
Only Pawson will know what he was thinking at the moment he dismissed Vardy, but it is hard to imagine that the stick he received for only booking Rojo for his lunge on Wilfried Zaha was not somewhere in the back of his mind.
Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew made his feelings known loudly after the midweek game at Selhurst Park and Vardy might feel he was the unwitting victim.
9. Hammers and Hull need to hit the January sales
West Ham and Hull also could not be separated in the summer when they competed to have the worse transfer window. The London club’s scatter-gun approach to signing strikers left them with the loan deal for Simone Zaza, who is about to be returned to sender.
Hull left it till the last week of the window before throwing money around. Both need to perform better in the more difficult winter window. A goalscorer or two would be good.
10. Is Gaston the man to keep Boro up?
Gaston Ramirez could hold the key to Boro’s Premier League survival this season.
Ramirez returned to Boro’s starting line-up at the Riverside today after missing the last two games with a foot injury.
The 26-year-old forward has been a key man for Karanka after joining Boro permanently in the summer.
Karanka had said he would only pick Ramirez if he was 100% fit – and the Uruguayan looked sharp as he pulled the strings for Boro during an impressive first half.
He also set up de Roon’s second-half goal before being replaced by George Friend on the hour.
No doubt he’ll be the first name on Karanka’s team sheet for Boro’s Boxing Day trip to Burnley.
Credit: Daily Mirror