Manchester City 3-1 Watford
Kevin De Bruyne made a dramatic return to action as Manchester City eased back to winning ways with a convincing 3-1 victory over Watford.
The Belgian did not score but was the main architect as the Premier League leaders overcame Sunday’s rare blip at Crystal Palace with strikes from Raheem Sterling – after less than a minute – Sergio Aguero and a Christian Kabasele own goal.
De Bruyne had been highly doubtful for the clash at the Etihad Stadium after being carried off in the goalless draw at Selhurst Park – which ended City’s record-breaking run of 18 successive wins – but he played as if he had not been hurt at all.
Watford were outplayed by City for a second time this season, following a 6-0 hammering in September, but did manage a late consolation from Andre Gray on a cold and wet night.
Swansea 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Fernando Llorente returned to haunt former club Swansea and Dele Alli struck late on as Tottenham claimed a fifth win in six Premier League games on a rainy night in south Wales.
Llorente struck a controversial 12th-minute goal – his first in the Premier League for Spurs, after Harry Kane had been named on the bench following a seasonal heavy cold – before Alli clinched matters in the final minute for a 2-0 victory.
Television pictures clearly showed Llorente standing in an offside position when he met Christian Eriksen’s free-kick.
Bottom-placed Swansea could also take issue with referee Bobby Madley’s decision to allow Davinson Sanchez to stay on the field after 55 minutes.
Sanchez, already been booked for an off-the-ball incident in the first half, scythed down Martin Olsson and seemed certain to be sent off.
But Madley chose only to lecture Sanchez before Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino substituted the Colombian four minutes later, handing the fit-again Victor Wanyama his first run-out since August.
West Ham 2-1 West Bromwich Albion
Andy Carroll’s dramatic double lifted West Ham out of the relegation zone.
The Hammers were trailing fellow strugglers West Brom until two goals from their towering striker – the second deep in stoppage time – secured a 2-1 win.
James McClean had given the Baggies a first-half lead, but Carroll equalised with a trademark header and then buried an angled shot to leave the Baggies languishing in the bottom three.
Albion boss Alan Pardew, still without a win from eight matches in charge, had wanted the Premier League to postpone this match as it came just two days after a gruelling 1-1 draw with Arsenal.
He is unlikely to have changed his mind after West Brom’s winless streak was stretched to 20 matches.
Southampton 1-2 Crystal Palace
Shane Long’s first goal in 325 days was undermined by Crystal Palace once again coming from behind to secure three vital points in a 2-1 victory at Southampton.
The striker’s struggles in front of goal have characterised those of his team since the final weeks of the reign of former head coach Claude Puel.
Under Mauricio Pellegrino they have become contenders for relegation, and after falling to 16th place as Palace rose to 14th with finishes from James McArthur and Luka Milivojevic, their supporters chanted for the manager’s sacking.
That Palace were involved in their third fixture in six days presented the hosts with a fine opportunity to end the winless run that stretched back to November and has led to growing pressure on his position.