The final weekend of November established the two-horse title race in the Premier League and may have also witnessed the return of Liverpool to winning ways. While on Sunday night all eyes were on the Nou Camp where, although there was only one goal, the match suggested a great battle ahead this season between Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Carlo Ancelottiâ€™s side produced a championsâ€™ performance at the Emirates to continue their excellent start to the season and put a further marker down as the best team in the Premier League.
Whilst Chelsea were defensively sound and rarely looked troubled despite Arsenalâ€™s possession, the main difference between the two sides was Didier Drogba (revised 3/1 favourite for the golden boot), who has still never lost to Arsenal. The Ivorian striker was a bulldozer up front and exposed many of the weaknesses the Gunners have at the back.
Two impressive finishes added to Drogbaâ€™s fine display and if he continues in this form he could well scoop up many of the individual awards at the end of the season. Special mention should also be made for Ashley Cole who may be the most hated footballer at the Emirates but rose above the boos to set up both the goals late in the first half.
The game at Eastlands next Saturday now takes on great importance for the Blues and Manchester United. If Chelsea can win at City they’ll be wel poised to exploit a run of very winnable games, and on their current momentum the Pensioners could gain a healthy lead at the top of the table.
What a legend. It has almost become passÃ© to describe the qualities of the Welsh Wizard but as a result Giggs can get lost in all the chat about great players in the modern game.
The bottom line is that Ryan Giggs will go down as one of the greatest players in English football and the only question now is how much longer can he continue terrorising defences and picking up winnersâ€™ medals.
A day before his 36th birthday, Giggs was at his best in a free role at Fratton Park where he made all the difference for United. He was responsible for two assists and also scored his 100th league goal.
It isnâ€™t only Giggsâ€™ fitness, technique, pace and guile on the ball that should be admired but also his mentality. Early in the second half it was Giggs who fed Rooney twice, with the second inch-perfect pass leading to Unitedâ€™s second goal.
There are a whole lot of pretenders to the throne at Old Trafford, but there will only be one Ryan Giggs.
After enduring some wretched form in recent weeks, Liverpool fans will be clinging on to the Merseyside derby victory as the turning point in their season. Rafa Benitezâ€™s team hadnâ€™t won in the league since beating Manchester United last month at Anfield and coming just days after their Champions League exit, this was an impressive result.
It is often said that Liverpool only have a few world class players and the rest of Benitezâ€™s squad is just not good enough. Pepe Reina should undoubtedly be included alongside the likes of Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard â€“ the Spaniard’s double save from Cahill and Fellaini was probably the best seen this season and was a major reason behind the win.
With Arsenal, Spurs, Aston Villa and Manchester City failing to win, these three points, in a game where they struggled, could be massive.
The feeling around the DW Stadium is likely to be very different this week after the Latics saw off Sunderland just six days after their mauling at White Hart Lane. Hugo Rodallega produced a fine winner to deny Steve Bruce on his return to the club and Roberto Martinezâ€™s side look likely to be fighting for a Europa League spot rather than battling relegation.
Jimmy â€œthe wigâ€ has taken all the plaudits for his highly amusing celebration but it has been forgotten just how easily Bullard dispatched the spot kick. With ten minutes remaining, and against an impressive keeper in Shay Given, Bullard was full of confidence as he earned Hull a point.
Since returning from injury Bullard has played four games and played a major part in the comebacks against West Ham and City and the win against Stoke. Hull and Phil Brown have a talisman who can keep them up.
Bowyer, 32, is in the midst of a Premier League renaissance and has now earned Birmingham two successive 1-0 wins that have pushed Alex McLeishâ€™s side up to eleventh.
Burnleyâ€™s three late goals put a slight dampener on the Hammersâ€™ win on Saturday but it lifted Gianfranco Zolaâ€™s side out the relegation zone. The West Ham Academy continues to churn out youngsters like Jack Collison and Junior Stanislas who can score in the Premier League and if Scott Parker can produce the form he showed against Owen Coyleâ€™s side, West Ham will stay up despite Carlton Coleâ€™s likely injury absence.
Pep Guardiola, Zlatan Ibrahimovic & Carlos Puyol
Barcelona didnâ€™t produce the most impressive performance to see off Real Madrid, but the Catalan giants did just enough to open up a two point lead at the top of La Liga.
Any coach that sees a substitute score five minutes after coming on should be congratulated and many who doubt Zlatan Ibrahimovicâ€™s â€œbig-game mentalityâ€ will have been surprised at just what a calm finish he produced at the back post.
There is of course one fall guy from Guardiolaâ€™s decision and Ibrahimovicâ€™s winner: Thierry Henry. The Frenchman currently looks like a shadow of the striker that lit up English football and the denouement of â€œLe Hand of Henryâ€ may be that it was the beginning of the end for the French captain who appears to have lost a yard of pace.
A special mention must also be made for Carlos Puyol who was immense at the back for Barca as Kaka and Ronaldo probed in front of him. The Barcelona captain is a symbol of the club and compares favourably with John Terry at Chelsea and Steven Gerrard at Liverpool. Like Ryan Giggs, Puyol is often forgotten but the number of winnersâ€™ medals in his collection is a true indicator of his worth.
After comfortably topping their tough Champions League group, Bordeaux followed up their win over Juventus by returning to the top of Ligue 1 thanks to a 3-0 win at Nancy. Blanc currently looks like the most likely candidate to take over from Sir Alex Ferguson if he ever abdicates at Old Trafford.
It has been a difficult year for the Dutch hitman, but his super-sub heroics for AC Milan at Catania last night may have tipped the balance in his favour. Two goals in injury time won the match for the Rossoneri and by scoring his first goals for the club (one with the left, the second with his right) Huntelaar has surely secured his stay at the San Siro past January.
A derby win over high flying Sampdoria is just reward for a club that is steadily progressing and is in with a shout of reaching the Champions League this season.
The hat-trick hero as Bayer Leverkusen returned to the top of the Bundesliga.
Arsene Wengerâ€™s bizarre post-match comments, which included â€œeverything went against usâ€ and Didier Drogba isnâ€™t a striker that does very much, underlines just what a bitter blow Chelseaâ€™s easy 3-0 win was for â€œThe Professor.â€
Chelseaâ€™s key performers were well known to Wenger which may be why defeat was so hard to stomach. Didier Drogba was recommended to the Arsenal boss in 2000 according to a report in Lâ€™Equipe today, and the fact that Ashley Cole assisted the two killer goals at the end of the first half may also have been difficult to take.
The Arsenal boss had backed his team before the London derby but on reflection it is likely that the Gunners would have fared little better had Robin van Persie, Nicklas Bendtner, Gael Clichy and Abou Diaby been available.
Against a side packed with powerful players Arsenal were brushed aside and for all their possession, the Gunners barely tested Petr Cech. Thomas Vermaelen, billed as the answer to Arsenalâ€™s defensive problems, was bullied by Drogba and the fact the two Chelsea goals late in the first half underlined the deficiencies of a defence with no real leader.
Arsenal fans should be glad to see the back of November, traditionally a month where they struggle. Injuries and poor form have left them all but out of the title race and in the mix with the also-rans chasing a Champions League spot.
David Moyesâ€™ side languish just three points off the relegation zone after their third successive Premier League defeat. Everton were unlucky not to get anything out the Merseyside derby but the lack of a new stadium and galling losses to Hull and Liverpool within four days have left the Toffees staring down the barrel.
Relief may come in the Europa League with a decent result at AEK Athens on Wednesday night but the suspicion remains that without some massive players (Neville, Jagielka and Arteta) Everton will continue to struggle.
Seven successive draws in the Premier League has set a new record and question marks remain over Mark Hughes and the City defence. The clash with Chelsea next Saturday is turning into a very tasty fixture.
Owen Coyleâ€™s team have conceded 25 goals in away matches in the Premier League and have looked naive in all their encounters away from Turf Moor. Burnley have even let in more goals away from home than Wigan who famously conceded nine in one match.
Stoke proved last season that it is possible to stay up thanks to good home form, Burnley should be able to produce better defensive performances than they did at Upton Park against a relegation rival.
If Wolves donâ€™t sack Mick McCarthy now they will go down without a fight.
The true test of Avram Grantâ€™s managerial skills comes now with a group of players far worse than the one he inherited at Chelsea.
Valencia & Sevilla
Both wannabe title challengers failed to take advantage of El Classico with tame home draws against Mallorca and Malaga respectively.
Ciro Ferrara and â€œThe Old Ladyâ€ have had a pretty disastrous week, losing to Bordeaux and then Cagliari. AC Milan have nicked in to take second spot in Serie A as Inter Milan run away with another scudetto.
The veteran keeper picked up a nasty looking injury in PSGâ€™s 1-0 win over Auxerre and this might be the last time we see Coupet playing professional football.
The incident can be seen here.