Who was naughty and nice in the Premier League over Christmas?

    Story highlights

    • Chelsea dropped five points in its last two games during the festive period
    • But Manchester City prospered in the Premier League, taking 10 of 12 points
    • Other teams to excel included Harry Kane's Tottenham and Southampton
    • Everton, Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion all struggled, though

    (CNN)Manchester United's Louis van Gaal and Sunderland's Gus Poyet were the latest managers to criticize the heavy Premier League schedule during the festive period but while the duo lamented their teams playing four games in 13 days, fans in England and around the world continue to enjoy the action on offer.

    The Premier League is, after all, the only major football league not to shut down over the holidays.
      Some supporters had more reason to cheer than others, and on that note, here's a look at the winners and losers in the Premier League during its busiest time of the season.
      Manchester City: One of the standout results over the Christmas period had to be defending champion Manchester City slumping to a 2-2 draw with Burnley -- at home and after holding a 2-0 second-half lead.
      But that was the lone blemish for Manuel Pellegrini's men, despite nearly squandering another two-goal advantage at home to Sunderland on New Year's Day.
      City collected 10 of 12 points, scoring 11 goals in the process without talismanic striker Sergio Aguero. City was also without the services of the perhaps equally influential Vincent Kompany in the heart of the defense.
      Once eight points behind Chelsea, City and the Londoners are now level atop the table.
      Tottenham: Harry Kane proved to be a hurricane that stormed past Chelsea on Thursday. He scored twice, assisted on another and won a penalty in the stunning 5-3 victory over a team that had previously had Tottenham's number.
      With fellow strikers Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor continuing to misfire, his emergence has come at the right time for Tottenham. Kane, Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen make for an impressive attacking trio.
      Tottenham -- like City -- earned three wins and a draw to climb to fifth, only two points behind Southampton in the race for the final Champions League spot in England.
      Southampton: A freefall down the table, some would have said, was inevitable for the Saints after they lost five straight games heading into the Christmas rush.
      Yet Southampton turned it around in a hurry, gathering 10 points. It beat the struggling duo of Everton and Crystal Palace prior to drawing Chelsea and downing Arsenal.
      Sure the referee might have helped Southampton against Chelsea -- not awarding a seemingly clear penalty to the visitor -- but Southampton bossed proceedings against Arsenal.
      For all the talk this season of striker Graziano Pelle and midfielder Dusan Tadic, don't forget the work of fullbacks Ryan Bertrand and Nathaniel Clyne.
      Hull City: Winless in 10 games, Hull manager Steve Bruce was hoping for respite on Boxing Day against Sunderland. When Adam Johnson scored for the Black Cats in the first minute, though, it seemed like more bad luck was on the way for Hull.
      Hull, however, rallied for a 3-1 win and better form followed.
      After somehow losing to Leicester 1-0 -- hitting the post twice and firing 19 shots -- the Tigers eased past Everton 2-0 to rise to 15th.
      Burnley: How could a team that amassed a mere two points in four games be a 'winner,' you ask?
      Well, Burnley, seemingly doomed for relegation in October, showed plenty of grit even with a thin squad -- manager Sean Dyche named the same starting XI in all four games.
      The lack of rotation cost Dyche on Thursday, since he had to make three injury enforced subs within 40 minutes, but Burnley still rallied three times to draw Newcastle away 3-3. As if coming back against City wasn't enough.
      The two losses were narrow defeats to Spurs and Liverpool.
      If Eibar is a sentimental favorite in La Liga, Burnely -- now a point off safety -- is the Premier League equivalent.
      Everton: The honeymoon period is over for Roberto Martinez.
      Adored by the Everton fans last season -- enjoying success with a more attractive style than David Moyes' methodical approach -- Martinez's team lost all four games. It scored in only one of them.
      Lingering near a Champions League place early in the season, Everton now finds itself a mere four points above the relegation zone.
      West Bromwich Albion: Moyes' former assistant at Everton, Alan Irvine, didn't last long in his first stint as manager, getting fired after the sagging Baggies lost 2-0 to Stoke.
      But here's good news for the West Brom faithful: Tony Pulis is on the way.
      Pulis has never been relegated as a manager and is the reigning manager of the season in the Premier League, working wonders at Crystal Palace before leaving the Eagles on the eve of the current campaign.
      Crystal Palace: Irvine wasn't the first manager to go in the Premier League this season. That 'honor' went to Neil Warnock at Palace following a 3-1 home defeat to Southampton on Boxing Day.
      Warnock's second stint in charge at Selhurst Park started well enough but the team has won once since late September.
      Warnock said publicly that Palace needed strikers and it's not difficult to see why with a return of 20 goals. In the last seven, Palace has netted twice.
      Former Palace midfielder Alan Pardew is set to take over from Warnock.
      Aston Villa: When Aston Villa won three of its four first league games this season, relegation troubles appeared to be an afterthought.
      And despite Villa still being five points above the bottom three, it's hard to imagine its fans content.
      Palace's dearth in front of goal is nothing compared to Villa, which has scored 11 times in 20 games. In three draws and a loss in the past fortnight, the Birmingham-based club found the back of the net once.
      Chelsea: The festive period began perfectly for Chelsea. Playing at one of the toughest grounds in England, the Blues beat Stoke 2-0. Then came another 2-0 win, against a then in-form West Ham.
      Chelsea looked unstoppable.
      But slip-ups ensued at Southampton and Tottenham, with Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho not happy with the referee on both occasions.
        A Mourinho team has always won the league when it has led at the end of a year, but Chelsea's dip has given Manchester City hope.