Arsenal eased the pressure on manager Mikel Arteta as 3-1 derby win over Chelsea snapped the Gunners’ eight-match winless run in the Premier League.
Earlier on Boxing Day, Leicester City fought back to draw 2-2 with third-placed Manchester United to stay second.
Aston Villa overcame the dismissal of defender Tyrone Mings just before halftime to beat Crystal Palace 3-0 and move up to fifth while Southampton had a late effort from Theo Walcott ruled out by VAR for offside in the build-up as they drew 0-0 at relegation-battlers Fulham.
Alexandre Lacazette converted a penalty before Granit Xhaka’s superb free-kick doubled Arsenal’s lead just ahead of the break at the Emirates Stadium.
Chelsea, who dropped to sixth after the loss, were caught out again after 56 minutes when Bukayo Saka clipped home a third.
Mohamed Elneny drilled a fierce effort against the crossbar, before Chelsea pulled a goal back after 85 minutes through Tammy Abraham.
Gunners keeper Bernd Leno produced a fine save from Jorginho’s penalty in stoppage time.
The victory was Arsenal’s first league win since a 1-0 triumph on November 1 against Manchester United and they are now six points clear of the relegation zone in 14th position.
“The result is the main thing today, we really needed that win,” Arteta said.
“We have been unlucky and frustrated with our results in the last eight weeks so this was a big day for us.
“I am pleased for the players and for the supporters. We have let them down for many weeks so it was a good day to give them something to cheer about.”
Before kick-off, the Gunners announced defender Gabriel was set to miss the next three matches due to self-isolation after being flagged as a close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Brazilian duo David Luiz and Willian were said to be “unwell”, but both recently returned negative tests.
At the King Power Stadium, Marcus Rashford put Man United ahead when he scored his 50th league goal on 23 minutes.
Harvey Barnes pulled the Foxes level in the 30th minute as he drilled a 20-yard effort past David De Gea.
In the 79th minute, Bruno Fernandes looked to have given United what would have been a record-equalling 11th consecutive away Premier League win after being played in by substitute Edinson Cavani.
Leicester, though, secured a share of the points with five minutes left when United defender Axel Tuanzebe diverted Jamie Vardy’s close-range effort into the net.
“Disappointed we didn’t win today because we had loads of big chances,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.
Leicester trail leaders Liverpool by three points while United are a point behind the Foxes.
At Villa Park, Bertrand Traore opened the scoring for Villa in the fifth minute by tidying up Ollie Watkin’s saved strike on the rebound before Kortney Hause and Anwar El Ghazi added second half goals.