Manchester City powered six points clear at the top of the Premier League after quashing Leicester’s comeback bid in a pulsating 6-3 win on Sunday.
Pep Guardiola’s rampant side scored four times in the opening 25 minutes of a Christmas cracker at the Etihad Stadium.
Kevin De Bruyne struck first before Riyad Mahrez converted a penalty.
Ilkay Gundogan bagged City’s third and Raheem Sterling scored a penalty of his own.
James Maddison, Ademola Lookman and Kelechi Iheanacho all netted for Leicester in the space of just 10 minutes early in the second half.
But Aymeric Laporte killed off the visitors’ hopes of an incredible escape act by heading City’s fifth goal before Sterling scored again in the final minutes.
It was the highest-scoring match in the top-flight on Boxing Day since Manchester United won 6-3 against Oldham in 1991.
With second-placed Liverpool’s match against Leeds on Sunday postponed due to the coronavirus, City were able to extend their lead over their main title rivals.
Guardiola’s champions have won nine successive league games, scoring 17 goals in their last three matches as they end 2021 in scintillating style.
City’s 4-0 win against Newcastle last weekend made them the first top-flight team to win 34 league games in a calendar year, beating Liverpool’s 1982 record.
A 36th league victory at Brentford on Wednesday would send City into the new year firmly cemented as title favourites.
Phil Foden and Jack Grealish were again among the substitutes after irking Guardiola with their off-field antics, while Rodri, John Stones and Kyle Walker were absent from the matchday squad altogether.
Guardiola’s rotation worked perfectly as City made a blistering start, taking the lead in the fifth minute.
Elsewhere, Arsenal secured their fourth Premier League victory in a row as they ran out comfortable 5-0 winners at Carrow Road and heaped more misery on bottom-of-the-table Norwich.
Bukayo Saka opened the scoring after six minutes when he guided a low shot past Angus Gunn at the end of a slick Arsenal attack.
The impressive Martin Odegaard, who teed up Saka’s opener, then sent Kieran Tierney through to score the away side’s second just before half-time.
Saka added a fine third before Alexandre Lacazette’s penalty and substitute Emile Smith Rowe’s stoppage-time strike wrapped up a stress-free win for Mikel Arteta’s side.
The win meant the Gunners maintained their six-point lead over fifth-placed Tottenham while Norwich must regroup after a 12th defeat of the season, with boss Dean Smith admitting that he “didn’t see that coming” after watching his side go “toe-to-toe” in defeats by Manchester United and Aston Villa.
“This was just as flat a performance as we have had and it was littered with unforced errors,” said Smith.
The game marked two years since Arteta’s first in charge of the Gunners and the Spaniard can be pleased with where his side are ahead of Tuesday’s home encounter against Wolves.
They were 11th and 14th after their Boxing Day games in 2019 and 2020 respectively, but have improved enough to suggest that a first top-four finish since 2016 is not beyond their capabilities.
Harry Kane, Lucas Moura and Heung-Min Son were on target as Tottenham continued their resurgence under Antonio Conte with a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace, who had Wilfried Zaha sent off for two bookable offences in the first half.
The Eagles had asked for the game to be postponed after manager Patrick Vieira and several players were sent into isolation following a Covid outbreak, but the Premier League insisted they had not reached the necessary threshold, finally confirming the fixture would go ahead a few hours before kick-off.
Spurs duly capitalised on the apparent disruption to Palace’s preparations, with Harry Kane scoring for a second successive Premier League game when he converted Lucas Moura’s low cross to open the scoring in the 32nd minute.
Moura doubled their lead himself just two minutes later when he headed home Emerson Royal’s cross from close-range following another rapid Spurs attack.
Crystal Palace’s afternoon then went from bad to worse as Zaha, who had earlier been booked, received his marching orders for a shove on Davinson Sanchez as Vieira’s assistant Osian Roberts watched on from the technical area.
Tottenham’s dominance thereafter was such that Conte was able to withdraw Kane soon after the hour-mark with Tuesday’s trip to Southampton in mind, and Heung-Min Son wrapped up the victory when he flicked home another Moura cross in the 74th minute.
The win lifts Tottenham up to fifth in the Premier League table and means they have taken 14 points from a possible 18 since Conte replaced Nuno Espirito Santo as manager. Palace, meanwhile, slip to 12th.
Jorginho scored two penalties as Chelsea fought back from a goal down to beat Aston Villa 3-1 and move level on points with second-placed Liverpool.
Villa had taken a fortunate lead in the 28th minute when Matt Targett’s whipped cross from the left was met by Chelsea defender Reece James and his glancing header diverted the ball past Edouard Mendy and into the net for an own goal.
Substitute Romelu Lukaku, who had missed three matches because of Covid-19, came on at the start of the second half and scored within 11 minutes, heading in from Hudson-Odoi’s cross.
Lukaku helped create Chelsea’s third as he won an injury-time penalty, which Jorginho converted for his second goal of the game.
The victory gives Chelsea their first win in three Premier League matches to leave them third, behind Liverpool on goal difference and six points adrift of leaders Manchester City.
Additional reporting from AFP and BBC