For the most part this season, Barcelona have been first to everything when it comes to Spanish football. They are top of La Liga, having not lost a league game all season, and eight points above rivals Real Madrid, who occupy fourth place. But Ernesto Valverde's players haven't had it all their way. They have had to wait a week before club sponsor Audi got round to delivering brand new cars to them - seven days after their Madrid rivals got theirs.
Up to nine games and thousands of miles on the road... so, which top-flight boss is facing the toughest Christmas period?
For most people, December is a time to relax, eat to your heart's content and watch festive films like Die Hard. But that outlook does not apply where the Premier League is concerned. Christmas and New Years brings more action, not less, and the month can often define a team's entire season. There can be tough travel and harder games. So how does each team fare over December? Sportsmail has taken a look at their slate of fixtures and analysed who has it simple and which teams face rough months.?
Sterling scored at the death again to seal vital City points... so, who are the most important Premier League scorers earning points for their clubs?
There was a case of deja vu on Wednesday night when Raheem Sterling scored a dramatic last-gasp winner for Manchester City. The England winger's 96th-minute winner against Southampton secured yet another three points for Pep Guardiola's men to retain their eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League.? Sterling's magnificent strike came just three days after he scored the decisive goal in the 2-1 win over Huddersfield, with the star playing a key role this season.?
David Silva has signed a one-year contract extension with Manchester City. The Spanish midfielder has put pen to paper on a deal that will keep him at the Etihad Stadium until 2020, the year which will mark his 10th at the club. 'I am so happy to have committed my future to City,' the 31-year-old told the Premier League outfit's website.
Cristiano junior takes after Ronaldo with perfectly struck free kick as proud father praises son's skills: 'Nothing is coincidence'
Like father, like son. It seems Cristiano Ronaldo junior has more in common with his famous footballer dad than just the name.? Ronaldo senior shared a video clip on Instagram of his seven-year-old son scoring a brilliantly struck free kick from distance in a youth game in Spain.? The Real Madrid player praised his son and hinted that the set piece skill has come from plenty of practice at home, with the caption saying: 'Nothing is coincidence.'?
Spitting mad: City boss Pep squares up to Redmond at full-time... then claims he was praising winger but was annoyed at Saints' time-wasting?
Guardiola apologised to referee Paul Tierney for his manic goal celebration when Raheem Sterling scored another sensational late winner to keep City eight points clear at the top of the Premier League. But the City boss then became embroiled in a heated exchange with Saints winger Redmond as the two teams left the field.
Rooney rolls back the years as he completes hat-trick with stunning effort from inside own half in West Ham thrashing
DOMINIC KING AT GOODISON PARK: How do you impress a new manager? Some players would favour hard work. Others, perhaps, might choose a willingness to listen and learn. Then there is the Wayne Rooney way. Only the special ones can delve into the realms of fantasy and raise a stadium to its feet but that is what this gifted individual did. If Sam Allardyce feared he was arriving at Goodison Park to see the dying of Rooney's light, he will be thinking again. Rooney had already scored twice when Joe Hart attempted to clear his lines and fired the ball into Everton's half. Still out of his goal, the home crowd shouted 'shoot!' and that's what he did, drilling the most glorious drive from 70 yards like an arrow into the Gwladys Street net.
Sean Dyche has taken Burnley to new heights this season and a local pub has now given him the incentive to go even further. The Burnley fanatic owners of a nearby bar have promised to change their name to 'The Dyche' if the boss can guide his side into the Europa League. With the club currently in sixth, it may be a promise they have to fulfil.?
Antonio Rudiger may have bagged the winner in Chelsea's victory over Swansea on Wednesday but the defender didn't have it all his own way at Stamford Bridge. The 24-year-old rose high to head home his first Premier League goal in the second half, sealing a crucial three points in the process. However, he took to Instagram in the wake of the clash at Stamford Bridge to reveal a nasty foot injury.?
Paris Saint-Germain stars Neymar and Edinson Cavani clash AGAIN over penalty duties in win against Troyes
Cavani was hauled to the ground by Troyes midfielder Karim Azamoum just before half time and referee?Jerome Brisard pointed to the spot. The Uruguay international staked his claim to take the spot kick but the Parisians' world-record signing appeared to have other ideas. The pair were caught having a brief discussion before the Brazilian sullenly walked away from the opportunity to add to his season tally.
How many masseurs does it take to fix a footballer? Chelsea star Fabregas enjoys a pampering after Swansea win
Cesc Fabregas believes Antonio Conte's tinkering will only benefit Chelsea. Head coach Conte rotated his side for Wednesday's 1-0 Premier League win over Swansea. Cesar Azpilicueta was rested in the Premier League for the first time under Conte, ending a run of 74 successive league starts since December 2015, while Eden Hazard was relegated to the substitutes' bench.
SAMI MOKBEL AT STAMFORD BRIDGE: Antonio Conte lost it. Thankfully for the Chelsea manager, his players didn't. The thought of injustice was too much for Conte, who was sent off for an incensed tirade at fourth official Lee Mason after his team weren't awarded a corner. But the real injustice would have occurred if Chelsea had left Stamford Bridge on Wednesday with anything other than victory.
Pique on target as Barca breeze into Copa del Rey last-16 with 8-0 aggregate win over Murcia despite resting Messi and Suarez
Barcelona joined Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey and did so with a lot less fuss than their rivals 24 hours before, beating Real Murcia 5-0 on the night and 8-0 on aggregate. While Madrid stumbled into the round of 16, Barcelona walked tall showing off the strength in depth at Ernesto Valverde's disposal. His team came into the game 3-0 up and it was four on aggregate inside 15 minutes when Paco Alcacer nodded in unmarked after Pedro Orfila’s clearance dropped straight on his head.
Alan Pardew takes charge of West Brom training for first time after replacing Tony Pulis as he prepares to host old club Crystal Palace
Alan Pardew wrapped up warm on Thursday afternoon as he oversaw his West Brom side in training for the first time since replacing Tony Pulis this week. And Pardew will be hoping he can get his underachieving squad to hit the ground running ahead of his opening game against former employers Crystal Palace. Pulis was sacked last week after a 4-0 home defeat by Chelsea saw the Baggies edge ever closer to the Premier League drop zone.