The Saturday Night Takeaway: A fit Alexis Sanchez is the spark that will ignite Arsenal's title charge

Plus Christian Eriksen's form improves and Sunderland are rewarded for patience

Arsenal, Alexis Sanchez

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at the London Stadium. Picture by Steven Paston PA Wire/PA Images

The tempestuous clash between Manchester City and Chelsea overshadows this weekend's Premier League action.

A 3-1 win for Chelsea means they have set a marker down as the Premier League title race reaches the cusp of the hectic winter programme.

You can find Kevin Kilbane's thoughts on the early kick-off right here.

But there were plenty of talking points from the later games.

Sanchez the spark

Arsenal remain well in the title hunt after a 5-1 thumping of West Ham at the London Olympic Stadium.

And if the Gunners can go one better than last season and finally win the Premier League for the first time since the 2003-04 Invincible season, then Alexis Sanchez will have to be fit for the whole campaign.

He was the spark against West Ham, showing deftness and composure to set up Mesut Ozil for the opening goal.

He took over after that, with a hat-trick, first with a brilliant angled finish past Darren Randolph, before following that up with a well-executed first time effort from the edge of the box.

The third probably should have been ruled out for offside but the finish was wonderful to watch as he performed a small step-over and chip to beat Randolph.

Sanchez has thrived in the centre-forward role with his movement and pressing making that False 9 position a benefit to Arsenal.

The Gunners forward has an excellent on-field relationship with Ozil which has been key to creativity and the Chilean's ability to drop deep means the German and others can make runs beyond him.

If Sanchez can maintain his form for the vast majority of the campaign and Olivier Giroud can provide an alternative from the bench - as he has done at times - when a different approach is needed, then Arsenal have a chance of winning the league.

Sunderland soar

The Black Cats are still in the relegation zone but are only one point off 17th after a third win in four, this time against last season's champions Leicester City.

Sunderland were favourites to go down after a decidedly poor start to the campaign but it's a lesson to other clubs regarding patience.

David Moyes was given time by the owner and the manager has finally been able to deliver a run of results.

There is still a long way to go but at least they have a chance now.

Leicester are still outside the relegation zone for now and there is no danger of the sack for FIFA coach of the year nominee Claudio Ranieri after last season's epic achievement of winning the Premier League.

But there will be worries given that the Foxes are far closer to the bottom three than the Top 10.

Champions League progression to the knockout stage means the season is already a success in some ways. But they will want to get their act together sharpish to avoid an unexpected flirtation with relegation so soon after lifting the title.

And under-performing stars like Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez will have to contribute far more.

Eriksen finds his groove

Christian Eriksen's form for Tottenham had led to some grumbling before he fired in a brilliant long-range opener in the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea last Saturday.

That has seemed to spark an improvement for the creative midfielder, who scored twice late on as Spurs thrashed bottom side Swansea 5-0 at White Hart Lane.

The Dane's form has coincided with the return of Harry Kane, who also grabbed a brace of his own as Tottenham kept pace with the four sides above them.