LONDON, Dec 27: Leaders Chelsea got off to a victorious start in the Premier League's busy holiday programme with a 1-0 home win over Aston Villa on Sunday.
Champions Arsenal, Everton and Manchester United also claimed home wins and Liverpool won 5-0 at West Bromwich Albion.
Chelsea were below their sparkling best but maintained their five-point lead. Damien Duff's goal after 30 minutes was enough to beat injury-weakened Villa and secure their first Boxing Day win for five seasons.
Across London at Highbury, Thierry Henry hit his 20th of the season and equalled Ian Wright's tally of 128 league goals for Arsenal as the champions beat Fulham 2-0. Robert Pires completed the easy victory on 71 minutes.
Manchester United kept up the chase when they beat Bolton Wanderers 2-0 for their sixth win in seven games. Everton maintained their remarkable season with a 2-1 home win over Manchester City.
Arsenal 2 Fulham 0
Birmingham City 2 Middlesbrough 0
Blackburn Rovers 2 Newcastle United 2
Chelsea 1 Aston Villa 0
Crystal Palace 0 Portsmouth 1
Everton 2 Manchester City 1
Manchester United 2 Bolton Wanderers 0
Norwich City 0 Tottenham Hotspur 2
Southampton 0 Charlton Athletic 0
WB Albion 0 Liverpool 5. -Reuters