- Associated Press - Friday, December 26, 2014

LONDON (AP) - Chelsea and Manchester City enjoyed commanding victories in the English Premier League on Friday while Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool also won on a successful day for the top teams.

John Terry and Diego Costa scored for Chelsea, which beat West Ham 2-0 to retain its three-point lead over City. City scored all of its goals in the first half in a 3-1 victory at West Bromwich Albion played in a snowstorm.

For United, Wayne Rooney scored twice in a 3-1 win over Newcastle that tightened the 20-time champions’ grip on third place - seven points behind City.

“I was very pleased because we dominated for 90 minutes,” United manager Louis van Gaal said. “We make progress in every game.”

Southampton makes up the top four, climbing above West Ham thanks to a 3-1 victory at Crystal Palace, but there are a slew of teams vying for that fourth and final Champions League spot.

Arsenal is only two points behind in sixth after beating Queens Park Rangers 2-1, with Alexis Sanchez making up for his saved penalty kick and teammate Olivier Giroud’s red card for a head-butt with a goal and an assist at Emirates Stadium.

Liverpool built on recent encouraging performances by eking out a 1-0 win at Burnley through Raheem Sterling’s second-half goal.

Tottenham and Swansea were other teams in the top half to register wins in the first of three rounds of league fixtures over seven days across the holiday period. In the other games, Stoke beat Everton 1-0 and Hull ended a 10-game winless run by defeating Sunderland 3-1 to climb out of the relegation zone.

There could be a new twist in the title race Sunday when Chelsea heads to Southampton, which has recovered from its recent slump.

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