Chelsea continued the relentless assault on their first league title for 50 years by comfortably beating Portsmouth 3-0 to equal a club record of seven successive top-flight victories.
The west London club, who have not conceded a goal in that run, are now 11 points clear of Manchester United, who beat Aston Villa 3-1, and 13 clear of champions Arsenal, who host Newcastle United on Sunday.
Everton remain fourth on 44 points after they lost 1-0 at home to Charlton Athletic, while fifth-placed Liverpool's bad run continued with a 2-0 defeat at struggling Southampton.
Liverpool have 37 points along with Charlton and Middlesbrough, who led Norwich City 4-1 with 12 minutes remaining at Carrow Road only to draw 4-4.
Crystal Palace shocked Tottenham Hotspur 3-0, Fulham won 2-1 at Birmingham City while bottom side West Bromwich Albion completed a good day for the strugglers with a 2-0 victory over Manchester City.
Chelsea needed only first gear to ease past Portsmouth and the match was effectively over once they moved 2-0 up after 21 minutes.
Striker Didier Drogba tapped in the first after 15 minutes following a great run and cross by Arjen Robben and the Dutch winger got the second in the 21st when he cleverly went round goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown.
Aiyegbeni Yakubu missed a good chance for Portsmouth and they were immediately punished when Drogba curled in his second goal from a free kick in the 39th minute.
The only team to pierce the Chelsea rearguard in the last nine games have been fourth division Scunthorpe in a 3-1 FA Cup defeat and Portsmouth never looked like matching the fourth division club's minor achievement as Chelsea cruised home.
Manchester United also got off to a good start whenLouis Saha set up Cristiano Ronaldo to shoot in after eight minutes.
United'sdefence has looked as solid as Chelsea's in recent weeks but it was breached for the first time in nine games in all competitions when Rio Ferdinand's mistake allowed midfielder Gareth Barry to equalise eight minutes into the second half.
The comeback was short-lived, however, as United hit back with two goals in two minutes by Saha (69)and Paul Scholes.
Liverpool, beaten at home by United in the league last Saturday and dumped out of the FA Cup by second division Burnley on Tuesday, were comfortably beaten by Southampton thanks to goals by David Prutton and Peter Crouch in the first 22minutes.
CrystalPalace responded to Southampton's win in the early kickoff with their best performance of the season to beat Spurs.
Second-halfgoals by Mikele Leigertwood, Danny Granville and an Andy Johnson penalty were all the more impressive since Tottenham had only conceded five away goals all season.
Norwichtook the lead against Middlesbrough but two goals each for Franck Queudrue and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink seemed to have the visitors comfortably home and dry.
Norwich,though, refused to give in and goals for Dean Ashton, Leon McKenzie and, in injury time, Adam Drury grabbed a point.
KevinCampbell scored five minutes into his home league debut for West Brom and Ronnie Wallwork added a late second against Manchester City as Bryan Robson enjoyed a first league win since taking over as manager more than two months ago.
Charlton completed the double over Everton as Matt Holland's long-rangeeffort was enough to win a scrappy Goodison Park clash. Everton's six defeats this season have all been against London clubs.