City held at Stoke, Wigan shock Reds
Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League but only on goal difference as they had to settle for a hard-fought point in a 1-1 draw at Stoke City.
Peter Crouch's breathtaking volley from 30 yards gave the hosts the lead in the second half, but Yaya Toure's deflected strike at least ensured City earned a point. City are now level on points with Manchester United having played one game more; United play at home to Fulham on Monday.
Wigan Athletic recorded a shock 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield.
Wigan took the lead after Martin Skrtel swung at Jamie Carragher's aimless headed clearance and caught Victor Moses in the face as he knocked it back to Pepe Reina. Referee Lee Mason pointed to the spot and, after a couple of minutes' delay for Moses to receive treatment, Shaun Maloney tucked his penalty past the goalkeeper's right hand.
Liverpool equalised just after half-time when Luis Suarez turned the ball home from a Steven Gerrard assist, and the Reds should have been ahead in the 53rd minute when Skrtel's downward far-post header bounced over Ali Al Habsi. Yet Suarez, under pressure from Gary Caldwell, inexplicably punched the ball over the line when he was so close to the goal he could have let it hit him and it would still probably have gone in.
Caldwell then took advantage of some confused defending to put Wigan ahead, with Liverpool static as the Scot made space to fire home a winner. The result leaves Liverpool 13 points off fourth place, while Wigan are 19th.
Arsenal made it seven successive league victories for the first time since 2007 by beating Aston Villa 3-0.
The Gunners had a disrupted opening to the match, with Laurent Koscielny injured in the warm-up and replacement Johan Djourou floored in the early minutes, but took the lead when Kieran Gibbs fired past Shay Given, who will be disappointed with his effort to keep it out. Gibbs' England team-mate Theo Walcott doubled the advantage shortly after, gathering Alex Song's fine chipped pass and drilling home to continue his recent good form. Mikel Arteta put the gloss on the result with a 35-yard free-kick during injury time.
Chelsea remain five points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur in the battle for a Champions League place following a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues are now unbeaten in their last 22 league meetings at home to Spurs, but that will be little consolation after they saw their Champions League hopes fade in a forgettable stalemate.
However, it is Tottenham who may feel more aggrieved to have not taken three points after spurning a handful of fine chances, with Emmanuel Adebayor particularly wasteful. Spurs are now three points behind third-placed Arsenal.
Bolton Wanderers secured an important victory in the relegation battle as they defeated Blackburn Rovers 2-1.
Bolton, playing for the first time since Fabrice Muamba's clash at Tottenham last week,moved out of the relegation zone courtesy of a brace from David Wheater. Blackburn pulled a goal back through Steven Nzonzi, but to no avail.
Sunderland old boys Djibril Cisse and Nedum Onuoha had an afternoon to forget on their return to Wearside as struggling QPR went down 3-1.
Trailing to Nicklas Bendtner's 41st-minute header, the visitors' hopes of launching another fightback were dealt a major blow when Cisse was sent off for an ugly 55th-minute challenge on Fraizer Campbell, his second dismissal in just his fifth appearance for the club.
The Black Cats took full advantage with James McClean adding a second 20 minutes from time with the benefit of an Onuoha deflection, and Stephane Sessegnon marked his return from suspension with a third six minutes later. Taye Taiwo superbly converted a late free-kick for the visitors, but it was little consolation.
Everton are now two points behind rivals Liverpool after becoming only the third team to win at Swansea in the league this season, triumphing 2-0. Following an uneventful first half, Everton defender Leighton Baines grabbed his fifth of the season by curling in a free-kick, while January signing Nikica Jelavic notched a second.
Grant Holt netted twice before being sent off as Norwich came from behind to defeat struggling Wolves 2-1.
The Canaries impressed in the first period at Carrow Road, although they fell behind to a neatly-worked Matt Jarvis goal. However, City were not behind for long as Grant Holt flicked the ball over Wayne Hennessey to nod home from close range.
The 30-year-old scored his second of the afternoon from the spot in the 45th minute, which proved enough despite his late dismissal for a challenge on Michael Kightly.