Southampton defeated Chelsea 2-1 to move up to 13th in the Premier League table while Wigan's 1-0 victory against Norwich plunged Sunderland deep into the relegation quagmire.
Rickie Lambert's free-kick earned Mauricio Pochettino his third success with the Saints after claiming the scalps of Manchester City and Liverpool, while Arouna Koné hit his 12th of the campaign as Wigan kept their first clean sheet of 2012-13 to move out of the bottom three.
Arsenal dismissed Reading 4-1 in Nigel Adkins' first game in the charge of the Royals, as they plunged to the foot of the league. Gervinho, Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Mikel Arteta registered for the Gunners with Hal Robson-Kanu replying for the visitors. Fellow fourth-place chasers Tottenham halted their collapse with a gusty 2-1 win at Swansea, with Gareth Bale hitting the winner.
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Manchester United are only 10 points away from a 20th title after a 1-0 triumph at Sunderland in the day's early kick-off. Robin van Persie's shot was deflected in for a Titus Bramble own goal, but their 18-point lead lasted only a couple of hours following Manchester City's thrashing of Newcastle. Carlos Tévez, David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Yaya Touré got the goals ahead of the Manchester derby in nine days' time.
And West Ham lifted themselves up to 11th in the table with a comfortable 3-1 stroll against West Brom at Upton Park. Andy Carroll hit two with a Gary O'Neill strike sandwiched in between.