As the Premier League gets ready to pause for the World Cup, some unlikely storylines are in place for the second half of the season.
Arsenal have a five-point lead and are undoubtedly Manchester City's biggest challenger for their title.
Newcastle are increasingly looking like a team with enough quality to get into the Champions League.
Graham Potter and Frank Lampard, meanwhile, might do well to finish the season in their respective coaching jobs at Chelsea and Everton.
The final round of matches before a six-week break saw Arsenal respond to City's shock 2-1 home loss to Brentford by beating Wolverhampton 2-0 on Saturday to open up their biggest lead so far in the league.
Martin Odegaard's goals in the 55th and 75th minutes earned Arsenal a 12th win in 14 games. The only points Mikel Arteta's team will have dropped before Christmas came in a loss at Manchester United and a draw at Southampton.
While Arsenal's players maintained their intensity at Molineux, City's stars - including the recalled Erling Haaland - were unusually flat at Etihad Stadium as Ivan Toney reacted to his snub by England for the World Cup by scoring the opener in the 16th and the winner in the eighth minute of stoppage time.
Phil Foden had equalised for City, who are two points clear of third-place Newcastle after their 1-0 win over crisis-hit Chelsea.
Newcastle have now won five straight games to boost their improbable bid to qualify for the Champions League in their first full season under Saudi ownership.
Seven points separate Newcastle and fifth-place Manchester United, who visit Fulham in one of two games taking place on Sunday.
Joe Willock's curling shot from outside the area condemned Chelsea to their third loss in a row. Their only wins in the last eight games have come in the Champions League.
"We are in a bad moment," said Potter, who replaced Thomas Tuchel in September. "We take the break to recharge and go again."
Late comebacks are becoming Tottenham's trademark.
The latest rally came in a wild 4-3 win at home to Leeds, which saw Spurs come from behind three times before a double from Rodrigo Bentancur - in the 81st and 83rd minutes - sealed victory.
Harry Kane scored Tottenham's first goal for his 13th of the season, while American midfielder Tyler Adams was sent off in the 87th for two yellow cards for Leeds.
Darwin Nunez will head to the World Cup having finally hit his stride in his first season at Liverpool.
The Uruguay striker scored twice in Liverpool's 3-1 win over Southampton.
Nunez, who joined from Benfica, now has seven goals from his last 10 matches and looks settled in his role on the left of a front three.
Liverpool climbed to sixth place, seven points off the Champions League spots.
Two days after earning a surprise England call-up for the World Cup, James Maddison sustained an injury that threatened to jeopardise his chances of going to Qatar.
Maddison, however, played down the right hamstring problem that forced him off the field soon after opening the scoring for Leicester in their 2-0 win at West Ham.
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers, who saw Harvey Barnes score the second goal, said Maddison came off as a precaution.
In another injury worry, Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka came off early in Arsenal's win at Wolves with an unspecified issue. He sustained the problem early and briefly played on.
Everton's players and manager Frank Lampard were subjected to jeers and whistles from away fans after the final whistle of the team's 3-0 loss at Bournemouth.
England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was partially at fault for Bournemouth's opener, scored by Marcus Tavernier, before further goals by Kieffer Moore and Jadon Anthony as Everton plunged to within a point and a place of the relegation zone.
Nottingham Forest are just behind Everton after beating Crystal Palace 1-0 to climb off the bottom of the standings. Wilfried Zaha missed a penalty.