Crystal Palace's revival under Tony Pulis continued against Cardiff City, Luis Suarez was on target again as Liverpool eased their way past West Ham United and Norwich City clambered above West Bromwich Albion with victory at The Hawthorns.
Manchester United's season took another turn for the worse as Newcastle United secured their first victory at Old Trafford since 1972 to make it back-to-back defeats for David Moyes' men on home soil.
With Wayne Rooney suspended, the Red Devils were able to welcome Robin van Persie back into their ranks after a four-game absence, and the Dutchman saw one effort ruled out for offside on a frustrating afternoon for the hosts.
Patrice Evra also came close for United, as he struck the woodwork, but the game was to be settled by a solitary strike just past the hour mark.
A long ball down the Newcastle right was allowed to run into the path of Moussa Sissoko and as he squared to Yohan Cabaye 12 yards out, the French midfielder swept low into the bottom corner to secure a fifth success in six for the in-form Magpies.
Chelsea could have moved to within a point of table-topping Arsenal with victory at Stoke City, but remain four adrift after slipping to a dramatic 3-2 defeat at the Britannia Stadium.
The Blues, looking for a fourth straight success in the league, broke the deadlock on 10 minutes when Andre Schurrle was allowed to tie Ryan Shawcross in knots on the edge of the box before drilling across Asmir Begovic.
They were unable to build on that advantage, though, and saw the Potters draw level three minutes before the interval when Petr Cech failed to deal with a corner and Peter Crouch was able to steer the loose ball through a host of bodies on the line.
Things got even better for Mark Hughes' men early in the second period, with Jonathan Walters teeing up Stephen Ireland to steer a controlled left-footed effort around Cech - who was left rooted to the spot.
Stoke's lead was to last just three minutes, though, with a Juan Mata free-kick only half-cleared and Schurrle returned the ball with interest on the half-volley to grab his second of the game.
It looked as though the spoils would be shared heading into the dying seconds, but there was to be a late twist in the tale as Oussama Assaidi stepped off the bench to unleash a 20-yard rocket into the top corner.
Liverpool clambered back into second spot as the Anfield goal flood continued in a 4-1 demolition of 10-man West Ham United.
The Reds endured a few nervy moments early on, with Simon Mignolet producing one spectacular stop to deny Modibo Maiga, but their possession and pressure finally told on 42 minutes when Jussi Jaaskelainen could only parry a Suarez shot onto the unfortunate Guy Demel and watch on helplessly as the ball trickled over the line.
Two minutes after the re-start, Brendan Rodgers' side doubled their lead, with Steven Gerrard swinging a free-kick to the back post where Mamadou Sako bundled the ball back across the face of goal and saw James Collins fail with an acrobatic effort to hack off the line.
Liverpool could, and probably should, have had more as the Hammers' resistance began to fade, but some rather wayward finishing helped to keep the visitors in the game and they were offered a lifeline on 66 minutes when Martin Skrtel turned a Matt Jarvis header into his own net.
There was to be no way back for Sam Allardyce's travelling troops, though, as Suarez ended the game as a contest nine minutes from time - with a header from a Glen Johnson centre - and Kevin Nolan was shown a straight red card for dragging his studs down the back of Jordan Henderson's calf.
Man of the moment Suarez was involved again in Liverpool's fourth, with an ambitious strike from the edge of the box taking a wicked deflection off Joey O'Brien to leave Jaaskelainen wrong-footed and record a third own goal of the contest.
Manchester City thought they had found a cure for their travel sickness on Wednesday night, but saw another two points slip through their grasp on Saturday as they were held 1-1 by Southampton - who avoided a fourth successive defeat.
Sergio Aguero's 12th Premier League goal of the season saw the Blues off to a flying start at St Mary's, as he made no mistake from eight yards out after being found by Aleksandar Kolarov.
Teenage full-back Calum Chambers spurned a glorious opportunity to level as he diverted a close-range header past the post, but the Saints did restore parity shortly before half-time in emphatic fashion.
Dani Osvaldo showed neat footwork 20 yards from goal before unleashing an unstoppable effort which curled and looped over the six foot eight inch frame of Costel Pantilimon and in off the underside of the crossbar.
Crystal Palace's decision to turn to Pulis as Ian Holloway's successor is being handsomely rewarded, with the former Stoke boss making it two wins from two at Selhurst Park as Cardiff City were put to the sword 2-0 in south London.
A first goal for the club from Cameron Jerome put Palace on their way with just six minutes on the clock, with the former Cardiff frontman powering home a header from six yards out after Jason Puncheon had hung over an inviting delivery.
Marouane Chamakh, fresh from his vital winner against West Ham in midweek, got his name on the scoresheet again on 57 minutes, with a neat finish which required one touch to control and another to find the back of the net highlighting how confident he is feeling right now.
Jerome thought he had put the Bluebirds out of sight with another nodded effort, but Hawk Eye showed that David Marshall had clawed the ball out before it had fully crossed the line. That decision mattered little in the grand scheme of things, with only goal difference now keeping Palace in the bottom three.
One side heading into the opposite direction at present are West Bromwich Albion, as they suffered a 2-0 reversal at home to Norwich City to make it one win in nine.
The Baggies will once again tell anyone willing to listen that they were deserving of more than they got, but the fact of the matter is that they are now just two points above the drop zone.
A fine strike from Gary Hooper put an early nail in their coffin at The Hawthorns, with a threaded through-ball from Leroy Fer on 13 minutes allowing him to drill into the corner of the goal without having to break stride.
Nathan Redmond appeared to handle a Stephane Sessegnon effort as the Baggies pushed for a leveller, but referee Mark Clattenburg turned a deaf ear to the penalty appeals and the Canaries made the game safe in the dying stages.
Fer was able to drift forward into the box unchallenged, with Diego Lugano back-tracking, and prod the ball past a hopelessly exposed Boaz Myhill.
After seeing many of their fellow top-four hopefuls struggle, Tottenham Hotspur would have been expecting a tough test against Sunderland in Saturday's late kick-off - despite the Black Cats' standing at the foot of the division.
The capital outfit were given just that but, unlike their rivals, they were able to produce a second come-from-behind 2-1 victory in the space of four days and maintain their upward momentum.
Sunderland edged in front at the Stadium of Light, with Hugo Lloris flapping badly at an Ondrej Celustka cross, presenting Adam Johnson with the opportunity to crash into the roof of the net with his right foot.
Spurs were to restore parity before the interval, though, as Nacer Chadli nodded down for Paulinho to prod home with his studs.
Five minutes after the re-start and they were in front. Mousa Dembele made a strong burst down the left flank and his low cross was flicked past an unsuspecting Vito Mannone by the heels of John O'Shea.
Spurs were unfortunate not to extend their lead further, as Jermain Defoe hit the woodwork on two occasions, but were also lucky to avoid offering Sunderland a chance to level matters from the spot as Sandro got away with what appeared to be a clear case of arm to ball inside the box.