Video - Man Utd finally end their winless run as Arsenal march on
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes his players showed they are fighting for his cause as they staggered to a 2-1 win against Swansea at a nervous Old Trafford.
United ended their eight-game winless run with an edgy victory thanks to classy goals from Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney, with Van Gaal relieved that Swansea's late push for an equaliser came to nothing.
“I am very happy for the players because they had to play under big pressure and now we have won," he declared.
"We are still near the top of the league and the gap is less. So that’s football. That’s a season. A season takes eight months or something like that and not one month.
"I hope this is a fantastic starting point for us in the New Year. We move on from here."
Rooney's backheel winning goal saw him move into second place in the all-time Premier League scorers chart, as the United skipper continues to set records.
It was also an edgy afternoon for Arsenal at Emirates Stadium, as they cemented their position at the top of the Premier League with a 1-0 win against Newcastle thanks to a Laurent Koscielny.
"To not drop points after the way we played today helped. Lets focus on the fact we are in a strong position," stated Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger after his side's poor display.
Second-placed Leicester were frustrated in a goalless home draw with Bournemouth as the Cherries survived the sending off of Simon Francis to claim a precious point.
Meanwhile, West Ham moved up to fifth as they beat a below par Liverpool 2-0 at Upton Park, much to the frustration of an angry Jurgen Klopp.
West Brom beat in-form Stoke 2-1 as Johnny Evans claimed a stoppage time winner for the Baggies, his first goal for the club and Sunderland secured a vital 3-1 win against a seemingly doomed Aston Villa.
Alex Tettey's 76th-minute goal gave Norwich a 1-0 victory over Southampton, who suffered their seventh defeat in nine games after Victor Wanyama had been sent off for two bookings on a day when Sadio Mane was dropped by Saints boss Ronald Koeman.
There was real drama in the final match of the day, as Manchester City came from behind to snatch a late winner at Watford thanks to Sergio Aguero's goal, much to the relief of boss Manuel Pellegrini: