Manchester City hit back to beat Leicester 3-1 as the champions kept alive their faint hopes of catching Premier League leaders Liverpool, while Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta got a glimpse of the problems that lie ahead as Everton and Arsenal shared a dreadful 0-0 draw on Saturday.
City have been left trailing in Liverpool’s wake this term and a defeat against second-placed Leicester would have been a fatal blow to their bid for a third successive title.
But goals from Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus gave Pep Guardiola’s side a win that moved them within 11 points of Liverpool, who don’t play this weekend due to their involvement in the Club World Cup.
Jamie Vardy had punished City’s defensive weakness against the counter-attack with a breakaway opener in the 22nd minute.
But former Leicester winger Mahrez equalised with a deflected 30th-minute effort and Gundogan stroked home a 43rd-minute penalty after Raheem Sterling was tripped by Ricardo Pereira.
Jesus extended third-placed City’s lead from Kevin De Bruyne’s cross in the 69th minute to leave Leicester 10 points behind Liverpool.
Liverpool, chasing a first English title since 1990, have a game in hand to bolster their lead and also face Leicester on Boxing Day.
Elsewhere, former Napoli boss Ancelotti was confirmed as Everton’s new manager on Saturday morning, 24 hours after Arteta left his role as Manchester City assistant coach to take charge of Arsenal.
Both bosses were in the Goodison Park stands with Duncan Ferguson and Freddie Ljungberg in temporary charge of Everton and Arsenal for the final time.
And the lack of confidence of two sides struggling at the wrong end of the table was obvious in a match completely devoid of quality.
A point leaves Arsenal 11th and the Gunners have now won just once in their last 13 games in all competitions.
Everton move up to 15th but are only four points clear of the relegation zone.
Ferguson’s role in Everton’s impressive victory over Chelsea and draw at Manchester United in their last two league games was enough to ensure the Scot a role in Ancelotti’s backroom staff.
“What a fantastic performance we put in. I couldn’t have asked for any more from them, they’ve been incredible for me,” Ferguson said.
On Ancelotti, Ferguson added: “A guy of that pedigree coming here, I can’t wait to start working under him.”
Ljungberg, meanwhile, looks set to remain on the Gunners’ coaching staff and the Swede said: “I’ve been told by the club that they want me to stay.
“I was very happy. We put a very young side on the pitch and gave them a chance.”
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