Chelsea stunned 3-0 by inspired Sunderland
Premier League leaders Chelsea suffered their biggest home defeat for nearly nine years when they were humbled 3-0 by Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Arsenal climbed to second with a 2-1 win at Everton before Sunderland produced an inspired display at the home of the champions to complete one of the upsets of the season.
Stunning goals from Nedum Onuoha and Asamoah Gyan put Sunderland 2-0 ahead by the 52nd minute and a rare mistake by England fullback Ashley Cole allowed Danny Welbeck to complete the rout just before the end.
Onuoha's goal, the first by an opposition player in the league at Chelsea this season, came just before halftime following a mazy dribble Lionel Messi would have been proud of which left three Chelsea defenders trailing in his wake.
Gyan's strike completed a brilliant build-up following swift passing from Jordan Henderson and Welbeck, leaving the club's record signing free to plant the ball perfectly past Petr Cech.
Image: Sunderland's Nedum Onuoha is congratulated by teammates Phil Bardsley and Boudewijn Zenden after scoring against Chelsea on Sunday
Arsenal's win at Everton takes them to 2nd spot
Chelsea remained top of the table but that was about the only crumb of comfort they could take from an afternoon when they were outclassed by a team they beat 7-2 in the corresponding fixture last season.
Their lead at the top was cut from three to two points by Arsenal's win at Everton. Manchester United, who drew 2-2 at Aston Villa on Saturday, are a point behind Arsenal in third on 25 points.
Sunderland moved up from ninth to sixth with their first away win of the season which came just two weeks after they were humiliated 5-1 by their arch-rivals Newcastle United.
It was their first victory over Chelsea after 11 successive defeats by the Londoners since 2001.
"Two weeks ago we were hung, drawn and quartered (by Newcastle) and we wanted a response," Sunderland manager Steve Bruce said.
"We're looking at how well we played and we thoroughly deserved to win today. Chelsea are a great team, but all-round I'm delighted for the boys because they worked hard to get over the Newcastle performance.
"Two weeks ago was the worst, today... well, I'm not going to come to Chelsea and win 3-0 very often. We'll enjoy a few glasses tonight and take it easy."
Image: Everton's Coleman challenges Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas during their match on Sunday
'Sunderland played with a fantastic spirit'
Chelsea had won their opening six home league games of the season and outscored their opponents 17-0.
Since they last lost at home in the league in February, they had won 11 straight games with a 44-2 goal tally and their last home defeat by a three-goal margin was in 2002 when Manchester United beat them 3-0.
"Sunderland played with a fantastic spirit and they played better," Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti told Sky Sports.
"We were not able to come back into the game after going behind and it was a bad day.
"We were not able to play our football for 90 minutes, just for 15 minutes in the first half. It was a strange performance. I thought we were in a good moment, but now we have to come back in the next game."
He was asked if the surprise midweek departure of his assistant Ray Wilkins had had any impact on the performance.
"No, Sunderland played a fantastic game," the Italian said.
Arsenal won away from home for the second time in four days with goals from Bacary Sagna and Cesc Fabregas putting them in control against Everton at Goodison Park.
Tim Cahill gave Everton hope with a late strike and although the hosts rallied strongly, they could not find an equaliser.
Image: Sunderland's Phil Bardsley (left) and Chelsea's Nicolas Anelka are involved in an aerial duel during their match on Sunday
Draws mean relief for United but agony for City
Manchester United's Federico Macheda and Nemanja Vidic struck late goals to salvage a 2-2 draw at Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday and maintain their team's unbeaten start to the season.
An Ashley Young penalty after 72 minutes and a tap-in by Marc Albrighton four minutes later had put Villa on top with 14 minutes left but United rallied in the last nine minutes.
While a draw represented a good result in the end for the red half of Manchester, a point was failure for the blue half.
Fourth-placed Manchester City's unconvincing push for the title received a setback when they failed to score at home for the third successive match after being held to a 0-0 draw in a boring match at Eastlands by lowly Birmingham City.
They had also played out a goalless stalemate with Manchester United on Wednesday and disgruntled home fans jeered their team during and at the end of the match.
Image: Vidic celebrates with teammates after scoring against Aston Villa on Saturday
'Aston Villa never let us to settle on the ball'
Injury-hit Tottenham Hotspur were the highest scorers, beating Blackburn Rovers 4-2 at White Hart Lane with Gareth Bales scoring twice to help his entertaining team climb one place to sixth and end a four-match run without a win.
Manchester United, who looked to be heading for their first defeat of the sea son in any match, stretched their unbeaten run to 26 matches in all competitions, their best sequence for 11 years, but the statistics disguised another poor performance.
United have drawn six of their seven away league matches and did not show the form of potential champions.
"We could have lost six goals in the second half, they had some great chances and we were all over the place," Ferguson told Sky Sports.
"Great credit to Aston Villa, they never allowed us any time to settle on the ball. They hit us on the counter-attack time and time again."
Image: Aston Villa's Marc Albrighton celebrates after scoring against Manchester United on Saturday
Man City draw again, Mancini booed by supporters
The title aspirations of big-spending Manchester City took another knock after they failed to break down Birmingham.
Coach Roberto Mancini was booed when he took striker Carlos Tevez off and replaced him with midfielder Gareth Barry as City played out a third successive home match without a goal.
Afterwards, a defiant Mancini told reporters he was not under any pressure, despite what they thought.
"What pressure? For what? You continue to say I am under pressure. Which pressure? Because some supporters say I did not put two strikers on, or journalists say I am too defensive?
"I am not under pressure. We are in fourth position. We have some problems. We must improve that. But we have only played 13 games."
In another match, Bolton Wanderers held on for a thrilling 3-2 win at Wolves who fought back from 3-0 down.
Image: Manchester City's Tevez is challenged by Birmingham City's Scott Dann and Lee Bowyer on Saturday
Liverpool lose at Stoke
Liverpool's climb up the table was halted in its tracks when Stoke City beat them for the first time in 26 years, deservedly winning the evening kickoff 2-0 at the Britannia Stadium.
Liverpool, who have climbed out of the relegation zone with three wins and a draw from their last four league games, were very much second best at Stoke.
The home side, who beat Liverpool in April 1984, won with second-half goals by Ricardo Fuller and Kenwyne Jones in stoppage time, just before Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva was sent off for a second booking for fouling Matthew Etherington.
Spurs were again inspired by Welshman Bale, who grabbed a brace on his 100th league appearance, as they went 4-0 up against Blackburn with Roman Pavlyuchenko, who missed a penalty, and Peter Crouch also scoring before a late Rovers rally.
Image: Stoke City's Danny Collins challenges Liverpool's Fernando Torres during their match on Saturday