City cruise, chasing pack claim points
Albrighton's milestone effort came nine minutes into the second half after a mistake by Gunners defender Thomas Vermaelen. Arsenal striker Robin van Persie equalled Thierry Henry's club record of 34 for the most Premier League goals in a calendar year before Benayoun's 87th-minute decider. Villa defender Alan Hutton was sent off in stoppage time for two bookable offences.
Sergio Aguero scored twice in Manchester City's 3-0 home win over Stoke City as his side claimed top spot in the league on Christmas Day for the first time since 1929. Aguero bagged a goal in each half in a comfortable win over a Stoke side City overcame in last season's FA Cup final.
Adam Johnson was also on target as City maintained their 100 per cent record on home soil. "We are happy but as I said three days ago it's important to stay top at the end of the season," City manager Roberto Mancini said. "But for our supporters I think it's a good Christmas. If we want to win the championship we should get 90 points because Manchester United keep winning."
United put five past Fulham
Manchester United kept up the pressure on Premier League leaders City by flattening Fulham 5-0 at Craven Cottage. Danny Welbeck, Nani and Ryan Giggs were on target in a first half which was dominated by United, with Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov completing the rout in the closing stages.
There was disappointment for United however, with Phil Jones exiting in the 20th minute after the England defender was caught by Clint Dempsey's arm while duelling for the ball, and substitute Ashley Young also departing proceedings prematurely.
Wes Brown's last-minute header earned Sunderland a 3-2 victory at Queens Park Rangers. Sunderland were 2-0 up and in control courtesy of goals from Nicklas Bendtner and Stephane Sessegnon when slack defending allowed QPR back into the game through Heidar Helguson and Jamie Mackie.
But Brown clinched the victory for Sunderland with a header from Kieran Richardson's corner, which Alejandro Faurlin could not keep out despite his best efforts on the line.
Leon Osman earned Everton their third win at Goodison Park this season, 1-0 over Swansea City. The Swans have picked up only three points on their travels and, although their miserly defence withstood a flurry of chances at the end of the first half, they could not prevent Osman heading in Royston Drenthe's corner on the hour mark.
Scharner secures win for Baggies
West Bromwich Albion midfielder Paul Scharner struck at the end to hand the Baggies a 3-2 win over off-form Newcastle United. The Austrian stabbed home the winner five minutes from time just when it looked as though Demba Ba had rescued a point for the home side with an 81st-minute equaliser.
Peter Odemwingie had opened the scoring with 20 minutes gone, but Ba cancelled out his strike with a 34th-minute free-kick before Gareth McAuley restored the visitors' lead a minute before the break.
Liverpool were left to rue more profligacy in front of goal as they were held to a goalless draw at Wigan Athletic. Following their weekend draw with Chelsea, the hosts produced another impressive performance, with Victor Moses particularly lively. Kenny Dalglish's side had the best chance of the match, however, but Charlie Adam saw his penalty saved by Ali Al-Habsi.