Manchester City left it late to beat Reading, Everton moved into the top four, while Liverpool thrashed Fulham.
Newcastle got the better of Queens Park Rangers, West Brom ended Norwich's long unbeaten run, Tottenham were held to a goalless draw by Stoke and Sunderland boosted their survival hopes with a 1-0 win at Southampton
Gareth Barry's last-gasp goal earned Manchester City a dramatic 1-0 win over battling Reading at the Etihad Stadium.
City dominated for long periods of the game, but they could not find a way past a resolute Reading defence.
Reading had strong claims for a penalty waved away in the second half when Jay Tabb appeared to be fouled by City defender Karim Rekik.
It looked like City were going to drop two crucial points in the race for the title race until Barry popped up in the closing seconds to head home David Silva's cross to break Reading's hearts.
Arsenal made it three Premier League wins on the trot with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Wigan.
Mikel Arteta's second-half penalty proved enough for Arsenal to give them all three points to boost their top four aspirations.
Arsenal won the penalty on the hour mark when Jean Beausejour was deemed to have fouled Theo Walcott and Arteta sent Ali Al Habsi the wrong way from the spot.
The defeat leaves Wigan rooted in the bottom three after picking up just one point from their last five games.
Tottenham missed the chance to go third in the table after a goalless draw with Stoke at White Hart Lane.
Chances were few and far between as Stoke's stubborn defence picked up their ninth clean sheet of the season.
Stewart Downing scored his first Premier League goal for Liverpool as they demolished Fulham 4-0 at Anfield, also providing an assist as the Reds climbed into eighth place.
Brendan Rodgers' men went ahead in just the eighth minute on Merseyside as Steven Gerrard's corner dropped to Martin Skrtel 10 yards out and he made no mistake firing his volleyed effort past Mark Schwarzer.
Gerrard then turned from provider to scorer not long before the break when he pounced on a superb pass from Downing before turning to rifle home.
Downing added to the Cottagers' woes in the second half, getting the better of John Arne Riise before finding space and drilling Liverpool's third past the keeper, then Luis Suarez finished the job in stoppage time.
For Martin Jol's Fulham the result marked a second defeat on the bounce to leave them 13th in the table.
Sunderland climbed further clear of trouble at the wrong end of the table with a 1-0 win over Southampton at St Mary's.
Against the run of play Sunderland grabbed the only goal of the game three minutes before the break with top scorer Steven Fletcher on the mark.
Fletcher was in the right place at the right time as he converted Stephane Sessegnon's mishit shot into the net inside the six-yard box.
Everton came from behind to beat West Ham 2-1 at Upton Park with both sides being reduced to ten men.
Just after Everton had a Leon Osman goal controversially ruled out West Ham broke the deadlock on 14 minutes when Cole turned Johnny Heitinga on the edge of the box and fired a fierce shot low past Tim Howard.
Everton drew level on 64 minutes when Steven Pienaar picked out Victor Anichebe and he directed his header low into the corner.
Things got worse for West Ham three minutes later when Cole was sent off for serious foul play after appearing to catch Leighton Baines on his side with a studs-up challenge.
Everton made their numerical advantage count on 73 minutes when Osman worked his way into the box and cut the ball back for Pienaar, who somehow bundled his shot into the net past Jussi Jaaskelainen.
The visitors were reduced to ten men when Darron Gibson saw red for a high challenge on Mark Noble, but Everton held on for all three points.
Substitute Shola Ameobi's late goal earned Newcastle a narrow 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers as Harry Redknapp suffered his first defeat in charge of Rangers.
The game looked to be heading for a stalemate until Ameobi cut inside from the left and fired his shot past Robert Green nine minutes from time.
West Brom got back to winning ways and ended Norwich's unbeaten run with a 2-1 win at The Hawthorns
Norwich hit the front on 23 minutes with a fine free-kick from the in-form Robert Snodgrass.
Snodgrass whipped his free-kick from 25 yards out over the wall and although the returning Ben Foster got a hand on the ball he could not keep the effort out.
West Brom drew level two minutes before the break when Zoltan Gera reacted quickest to score from close-range after Mark Bunn could only turn Jonas Olsson's header against the crossbar.
Romelu Lukaku netted the winner eight minutes from time with a towering header past Bunn.