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3 Up, 3 Down: Featuring Chelsea and Tottenham stars

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Gameweek 14 of the Premier League could prove to be decisive come the end of the season.

Chelsea and Arsenal were the big winners, securing vital away wins, whereas Liverpool and Manchester City fell off the pace. The former capitulating defensively to Bournemouth, the latter just capitulating completely.

Spurs got back in the race for the top four with a big win over struggling Swansea, who fell to the bottom of the table after Sunderland secured their third win in four games over champions Leicester.

But who made this week’s 3 up 3 down?

Up: Diego Costa

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Chelsea’s Diego Costa has got a fair amount of criticism on this column in the past, so it’s only right that he receives praise when he deserves it too.

The Brazilian turned Spaniard is far and away the best centre forward in the league at the moment, and his play in the second half against Manchester City was decisive on the day and could prove to be come the end of the season.

His touch and strength to hold off Nicolas Otamendi for Chelsea’s equaliser was phenomenal, and his turn and through ball for Willian’s goal was exquisite. What a player he has been this season.

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John is a history graduate from the University of Southampton, and will soon be completing a Master's degree in Journalism at Cardiff University

3 Up 3 Down

3 Up, 3 Down: Featuring Manchester United and Arsenal stars

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What an end to the Premier League weekend. After Chelsea won their eleventh straight game to strengthen their grip on the top spot, Manchester City beat Arsenal to extend the Blues advantage at the top to a healthy seven points on Sunday night.

It looked as if it would stay that way during a tepid Merseyside Derby, but a late winner from Sadio Mane after good work from Daniel Sturridge put Liverpool back to second place and within sight of the top.

Elsewhere, there were wins for Manchester United and Southampton, while at the bottom, Swansea and Hull fell deeper into trouble after poor defeats.

But who made this week’s 3 up 3 down?

Up: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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Too old? Too slow? With each passing week, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is showing his doubters how wrong they are after another virtuoso display.

West Bromwich Albion were in fine form going into their match against a massively improving Manchester United, but were behind within five minutes thanks to a bullet header from the Swede.

He then doubled his total in the second half, flicking the ball over the legs of the onrushing defenders before drilling in a fabulous strike.

That’s now 10 goals in nine games for Ibrahimovic. Even at 35, he’s still got it.

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3 Up, 3 Down: Featuring Chelsea and West Brom stars

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We may still be ten days short of Christmas, but Chelsea have already secured their place at the top of the festive standings after extending their lead to six points with a win at Sunderland.

Arsenal dropped off the pace with a defeat at Everton, allowing Liverpool to overtake them, while Manchester City, Tottenham and Manchester United all gained ground with wins of their own.

At the bottom of the table, Swansea, Sunderland and Hull City were all defeated, leaving the struggling trio three points adrift at the bottom of the Premier League, with survival looking increasingly difficult.

So who stood out in the first round of midweek fixtures this season?

Up: Salomon Rondon

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What’s Spanish for ‘Big Dunc?’

West Bromwich Albion’s powerful Venezuelan striker helped the Baggies to seventh place in the league with a 3-1 win over Swansea, notching his first hat-trick for the club in the process.

What made his three goals even more special was that they were all headers, becoming just the second player to score a trio of goals with his noggin in a Premier League game, emulating Duncan Ferguson’s feat against Bolton in 1997.

They were all brilliant goals as well, and showed West Brom playing to their strengths. They’re having a very good season.

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3 Up, 3 Down: Featuring Manchester United and Arsenal stars

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A couple of weeks ago, the Premier League looked like a four horse race for the title as Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City continually blew teams away.

But as December has come around, Liverpool and City have lost form and dropped off the pace, leaving Chelsea (who have won nine straight games) and Arsenal ahead at the summit.

This weekend, City were beaten emphatically by struggling champions Leicester, Manchester United got back to winning ways at last against Spurs and Chelsea won their ninth straight league game against West Brom.

So who made this week’s 3 Up 3 Down?

Up: Jamie Vardy

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It almost seemed as if Vardy’s phenomenal form last season was going to become a one off, as a lengthy scoring drought began to gradually turn him from hero to zero as Leicester plunged down the table.

But Vardy righted all of those wrongs on Saturday evening with a blistering display. His pace, tenacity and poaching abilities were on full display again, leading to a wonderful hat-trick and a 4-2 win for the champions.

Yes, City gave him a lot of space to work with, but the Leicester striker exploited it ruthlessly. Many more goals should follow.

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