Jose Bosingwa's own goal condemned Chelsea to their fifth defeat in 11 matches as they lost 1-0 at bottom side Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Wolves scored the only goal of the game in the fifth minute when Bosingwa scrambled the ball into his own net from Stephen Fletcher's effort. Salomon Kalou failed to find the target in a one-on-one against goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and Mick McCarthy's men hung on for 85 minutes to secure a much-need three points.
Chelsea, who have won just one of their last nine Premier League matches, are now nine points behind leaders Manchester United having played one game more.
Roy Hodgson's return to Ewood Park ended in misery as his Liverpool side were beaten 3-1 by Blackburn. Benjani's double heaped more pressure on the former Rovers boss after Martin Olsson opened the scoring with his first goal of the season.
Benjani smashed in his first after turning Sotirios Kyrgiakos to double Rovers' lead shortly before the break and he added to Hodgson's woes after 57 minutes, sidefooting home from close range from Junior Hoilett's pass.
Steven Gerrard's strike in the 81st minute was mere consolation for the Reds, and his missed penalty five minutes later added insult to injury for Hodgson, who appears to be on borrowed time at Anfield.
Manchester City moved a point closer to rivals United, and stayed two ahead of Arsenal, after holding the Gunners to a 0-0 draw at Emirates Stadium. Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta were shown red in the dying stages after the matched had petered out into a stalemate following a bright start.
Arsenal raced out of the blocks, and after neat play from Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas, Nasir released Jack Wilshere on the left, whose shot-cum-cross narrowly evaded Robin van Persie, who was sliding in at the right post.
The Gunners dominated the opening exchanges; and were twice denied by the woodwork; Fabregas's strike beat Joe Hart to hit the left post, only for Theo Walcott's rebound to clatter the inside of the other post. Walcott was denied a penalty when his cross struck the arm of Vincent Kompany. But despite their best efforts, they were unable to find the net as neither side managed to put pressure on Manchester United.
Seamus Coleman scored his second goal in three games as Everton ended Tottenham's unbeaten run with a 2-1 win at Goodison Park. Louis Saha scored his first goal in 11 months to give Everton the lead, drilling the ball past Heurelho Gomes to ease David Moyes' concern over his strikeforce.
But the lead lasted just eight minutes, as Alan Hutton sent in a probing cross, which Peter Crouch nodded down to Rafael van der Vaart to score his ninth league goal of the season. Coleman's 75th minute winner sealed a much-needed three points for the Toffees, who move up to 11th.
Leon Best scored a hat-trick on his first Premier League start as Newcastle thrashed West Ham 5-0 at St James' Park. In the absence of injured strikers Andrew Carroll and Shola Ameobi, Pardew handed the 24-year-old only his seventh start for the club, but Best repaid his faith with three goals to stake his claim for a regular place in the starting XI. He had never before scored a goal for the Magpies.
Best needed just 18 minutes to open the scoring, slotting past Robert Green from Peter Lovenkrands' knockdown, before doubling his tally with a close-range finish after Danny Gabbidon failed to clear his lines. But he saved his best for last, thundering in his hat-trick goal from the edge of the area after Magpies captain Kevin Nolan's crisp finish had made it three. Lovenkrands added the icing on the cake to condemn Pardew's old club to a return to bottom of the table.
Emile Heskey was the villain for Gerard Houllier's Aston Villa as they lost 1-0 at home to Sunderland. Villa enjoyed the best of the opening exchanges, but were left to rue Heskey's miss - slamming the ball against the post from close range after Stewart Downing's ball across the face of goal.
Things got worse for Houllier when Heskey was shown red for pushing Jordan Henderson in the face, and Phillip Bardsley's first Premier League goal snatched three points for the Black Cats, who lost Bolo Zenden to a second yellow card.
Wigan defender Ronnie Stam's equaliser earned the Latics a point at Bolton with a 1-1 draw at the Reebok Stadium. Rodrigo broke the deadlock after half-time following a promising first half for the hosts, but Stam's equaliser snatched a much-needed point for Roberto Martinez's men.