Premier League leaders Manchester United and local rivals City started 2011 with victories as West Ham United won the key relegation six-pointer and Arsenal cruised past Birmingham City.
Liverpool eased some of the pressure on manager Roy Hodgson by beating Bolton Wanderers, while Merseyside rivals Everton suffered a rare away defeat at Stoke City.
Tottenham Hotspur climbed back into the UEFA Champions League places with a derby success and Sunderland overcame Blackburn Rovers at home.
Manchester United claimed just a second away win of the season after substitute Javier Hernandez's header secured a 2-1 success in a dramatic game at West Brom.
The leaders were in front inside three minutes when Wayne Rooney headed home his first goal from open play since March, but James Morrison's superb strike drew West Brom level on 14 minutes.
The Baggies should have had a penalty when Gary Neville somehow escaped being sent off after bringing down Graham Dorrans and the hosts then missed from the spot in the second half when Peter Odemwingie side-footed wide after Rio Ferdinand had tripped Jerome Thomas.
United were denied a penalty when Fabio's cross struck Thomas' arm, but the visitors snatched the points 15 minutes from time when the unmarked Hernandez nodded home Rooney's corner from close range.
Manchester City continue to keep pace with their local rivals at the summit following a 1-0 victory at home over Blackpool.
City were ahead on 34 minutes through Adam Johnson's deflected strike and then wasted a golden chance to increase the lead moments later.
Yaya Toure fell over in the box after tangling with Luke Varney, but top scorer Carlos Tevez tamely rolled his penalty wide of the post.
Birmingham slipped to second bottom in the table after Arsenal produced a ruthless performance to win 3-0 at St Andrews.
Arsenal went ahead on 13 minutes through Robin van Persie's deflected free-kick, although the Dutch striker was then fortunate not to concede a penalty after the ball hit his arm.
The Gunners doubled their lead on 58 minutes through Samir Nasri's well-placed finish before the third goal came on 66 minutes in comical circumstances.
Cesc Fabregas' shot was parried at the near post by Ben Foster, but the ball hit Scott Dann and then central defensive partner Roger Johnson before rolling over the line.
Joe Cole's first Premier League goal for Liverpool lifted the gloom on Merseyside courtesy of a last-gasp 2-1 success over Bolton.
Bolton silenced Anfield two minutes before half-time when lax defending allowed Kevin Davies to head home Matt Taylor's free-kick at the far post.
But Liverpool were level within four minutes of the start of the second half when Fernando Torres cushioned a volley beyond Jussi Jaaskelainen after being played in by Steven Gerrard, who had started the game on the bench.
The game appeared to be heading for a draw until Gerrard's deep cross was nudged back across goal by Maxi Rodriguez and Cole helped the ball over the line.
Tottenham maintained their 100 per cent record over the festive period with a scrappy 1-0 win in the London derby with Fulham at White Hart Lane.
The quick reactions of Gareth Bale gave Spurs the points on 42 minutes as the Welsh winger glanced Rafael van der Vaart's free-kick past Fulham keeper Mark Schwarzer.
West Ham climbed out of the relegation zone after a 2-0 victory over fellow strugglers Wolves at Upton Park.
The Hammers made the breakthrough in fortunate circumstances on 52 minutes when Carlton Cole missed his kick in front of goal and the ball bounced into the net off the luckless Ronald Zubar.
Matthew Upson and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake were both denied by the crossbar before Freddie Sears scored just his second career goal on 79 minutes to seal a vital win.
Sunderland bounced back from successive defeats over Christmas to enjoy a comfortable 3-0 home win over Blackburn.
The Black Cats were 2-0 up inside 20 minutes with Danny Welbeck's deflected volley was followed by a deft header by Darren Bent from Ahmed Elmohamady's cross.
The scoring was completed a minute from time when substitute Asamoah Gyan capped a swift break with a curling finish inside the post.
Stoke moved up to eighth in the table following a battling 2-0 triumph over Everton at the Britannia Stadium.
The Potters took the lead midway through the first half following tenacious work from Matthew Etherington, whose cross was headed home by Kenwyne Jones.
Jones was involved in Stoke's second on 69 minutes as he headed a deep free-kick up into the air and Phil Jagielka diverted his attempted clearance beyond Tim Howard.