Manchester City seized the chance to put Premier League leaders Manchester United under pressure with David Silva's double in a 2-0 win over Fulham on Saturday while Liverpool enjoyed a 5-0 romp against Norwich City.
United face a tricky trip to fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday with their advantage at the top whittled down to four points after Spain midfielder Silva struck in the second and 69th minutes for hosts and champions City.
"All we can do is win our games. We have got 15 left and Man United have got 16 left and I am sure both teams will drop points between now and the end of the season," City assistant manager David Platt told the BBC.
"We have to make sure we keep getting victories so if United do slip up we are in a position to take advantage of that. But we cannot do anything about what United do, we can only look after ourselves."
Liverpool's Jordan Henderson, long seen as a major flop, scored a rare goal in his seventh-placed side's home thrashing of Norwich when his thunderous shot on the turn from the edge of the area flew into the corner of the net after 26 minutes.
The goal was only his fourth since signing from Sunderland in 2011 for 16 million pounds but it was worth the wait for the fans, who also saw an outrageous dummy from new striker Daniel Sturridge set up Luis Suarez for the second.
Sturridge then made it three goals in three games since joining from Chelsea when he converted a cross from another Liverpool misfit Stewart Downing in the second half.
Captain Steven Gerrard added a fourth from distance and Ryan Bennett's own goal made it five as Brendan Rodgers' side showed real signs of promise after a fitful season so far.
There was also a landmark early strike for Queens Park Rangers debutant Loic Remy, who coolly netted in a 1-1 draw at London rivals West Ham United which left Harry Redknapp's side four points adrift at the bottom.
Former Chelsea and Liverpool winger Joe Cole grabbed the 68th-minute equaliser on the rebound for his first goal since rejoining the mid-table Hammers after 10 years away.
Reading boosted their hopes of survival with a second comeback in a week as substitute Adam Le Fondre's brace in a 2-1 win left relegation-threatened Newcastle United again reeling after Yohan Cabaye's free kick gave the hosts the lead.
"What I've learnt in this division is you have to stay in games and we've done that at 1-0," said Reading boss Brian McDermott.
Newcastle finished fifth last term but are two points above third-bottom Reading and a point ahead of fourth-bottom Aston Villa, who looked on course for only a fifth league win until derby rivals West Bromwich Albion fought back to draw 2-2.
Visitors Villa, like Newcastle another big club facing the abyss, had gone ahead through forwards Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor but Chris Brunt and Peter Odemwingie, with a superb hooked finish after 83 minutes, earned them a point.
"We should have been four up," said disappointed Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert. "Some of the football we played was excellent. We gave that game a right good go, but we should have been out of sight in the first half."
Wigan Athletic fell into the bottom three following a 3-2 home defeat by resurgent Sunderland.
In mid-table, Swansea City shone again as Jonathan de Guzman scored twice in a 3-1 home win over Stoke City, who have conceded 10 in three matches in the league this month but at least saw a first club goal for substitute Michael Owen late on.
The former England striker became the eighth man to amass 150 Premier League goals.
Third-placed Chelsea host fellow Londoners Arsenal on Sunday knowing the gap to City in second is now nine points following the Manchester side's simple victory over faltering Fulham.
Silva, less inspired this season than last especially in front of goal, found his scoring boots early on when he confidently slotted home after Edin Dzeko's effort was parried.
The Spaniard dinked in his second after a clever backheel from Carlos Tevez and shortly afterwards was clean through but spurned the chance of a third.
Fulham, who barely threatened, have been on the slide with two wins in 15 league games and are six points above the drop zone.
Heavy snow across England and Wales led to many games in the lower divisions being postponed but the top flight was unaffected by the weather.
Southampton and new Argentine manager Mauricio Pochettino welcome fifth-placed Everton on Monday.
Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters