Manchester United joined their big three rivals by failing to find the net on an afternoon of few goals in the Premier League.
Aston Villa broke their losing run against United but had to rely on a horror-miss from Wayne Rooney to do so.
Rooney blazed over the bar from eight yards with only Brad Friedel to beat as United went in search of a winner in the second half.
Liverpool and Chelsea were held at home by two of the top flight's lesser lights, both games finishing goalless, and a William Gallas-less Arsenal were thumped by Manchester City.
Liverpool and Chelsea dominated their home games with Fulham and Newcastle respectively, but couldn't find a way through a determined rearguard action.
Arsenal slumped to their fifth Premier League defeat of the season after going down 3-0 at Eastlands.
A defensive mix-up between Mikael Silvestre and Gael Clichy gifted Stephen Ireland an opener right on half time.
Robinho made it two with a delightful chip over Manuel Almunia on 56 minutes.
And Danny Sturridge made it three from the spot after he was brought down by Johan Djourou.
Middlesbro' were 2-0 down within ten minutes at the Riverside, eventually losing 3-1.
First Kevin Davies gave the Trotters an eigth minute lead, then Matty Taylor double it just two minutes later.
Emanuel Pogatetz gave Boro hope with a quarter of an hour to go but Johan Elmander dashed the revival instantly with a precise finish.
It was Elmander's second league goal of the season and his first since the opening day.
Peter Crouch filled the void left by Jermain Defoe by scoring for Portsmouth against Hull City, but the Tigers battled back to claim a point.
Michael Turner pulled the Tigers level but a Glen Johnson volley put Tony Adams' men back in front just after the hour mark.
But a Noe Pamarot own goal rescued a great point for City. He turned the ball into his own net under pressure from Dean Windass.
Mamady Sidibe's late strike gave Stoke a precious win over fellow new-boys West Brom at the Britannia Stadium.