Manchester City suffered a shock defeat to Southampton, Frank Lampard moved a step closer to Chelsea's all-time scoring record in the victory over Wigan, while Gareth Bale stole the headlines in Tottenham's triumph against Newcastle.
Swansea romped to victory over sorry QPR at the Liberty Stadium, Arsenal edged out Sunderland, Stoke secured their first victory of 2013 at home to Reading, while the encounter between Norwich and Fulham ended 0-0.
Gareth Barry's astonishing own-goal and a Joe Hart blunder saw Manchester City suffer a hugely damaging 3-1 defeat to Southampton at St Mary's.
Already nine points adrift of Manchester United in the table, Roberto Mancini's champions were the architects of their own downfall on the south coast as the hosts moved six points clear of the drop zone.
Jason Puncheon opened the scoring before Hart allowed Rickie Lambert's shot through his legs as Steven Davis slid in to double the lead with only 22 minutes gone.
Edin Dzeko pulled one back on the break before the interval, before Barry inexplicably passed the ball into the bottom corner of his own net from Lambert's cross to leave Mancini shaking his head in disbelief on the touchline.
Lampard on target
Veteran midfielder Lampard sent another message to the Chelsea hierarchy as the Blues secured a flattering 4-1 victory over Wigan at Stamford Bridge to keep Rafa Benitez's men in third place in the table.
Lampard, who is out of contract in the summer, closed to within four goals of Bobby Tambling's all-time scoring record of 202 for the Blues with a cool finish from Eden Hazard's pass to seal the victory and strengthen his position in discussions over a new deal.
Ramires had put the home side in front with a cool finish from Fernando Torres' pass in the first half and Hazard, back from suspension after his infamous ballboy tangle, made it 2-0 after the interval.
Shaun Maloney had immediately reduced the arrears after Petr Cech went walkabout, only for Lampard to make the game safe before Marko Marin added gloss to the scoreline.
Wales international Bale was the star of the show once again as Tottenham claimed an entertaining 2-1 victory over Newcastle at White Hart Lane.
Bale beat Tim Krul with a 25-yard free-kick to open the scoring for the Londoners early on and he then sealed the win with a superb break-away goal 12 minutes from time that ended with him slotting the ball between the Newcastle goalkeeper's legs.
Newcastle, who had equalised through Yoan Gouffran, dominated large parts of the game but suffered the added blow of seeing their goalscorer stretchered off in the second half.
Michu bagged a brace as Swansea romped to a 4-1 victory over QPR, with Harry Redknapp's side still rooted to the foot of the Premier League table.
Swansea needed just eight minutes to take the lead as Julio Cesar found Nathan Dyer's long range shot too hot to handle and Michu was quickest to react, fluffing his contact with the ball but seeing it loop home.
And the hosts were 2-0 up in the 18th minute as Angel Rangel was found on the right of the box, with his initial effort kept out by Cesar before he finished at the second attempt.
The Swans suffered an injury worry ahead of the Capital One Cup final as Chico was carried off.
Harry Redknapp made a double change at the interval, with substitute Bobby Zamora reducing the deficit after Michel Vorm could only push Adel Taraabt's shot back out, before another blunder by Cesar allowed Pablo Hernandez's shot to sneak home to halt QPR's recovery in its tracks.
Michu then put the finishing touch to a slick passing move in the 67th minute, getting in behind the visiting defence before beating Cesar to consign his six-game scoring drought to history.
Santi Cazorla's superb first-half strike was enough for 10-man Arsenal to overcome Sunderland 1-0 at the Stadium of Light and climb to fifth in the Premier League table.
The only goal came when Jack Wilshere, who later limped off injured, drove forward from midfield and fed Theo Walcott, with his quick turn and astute square ball setting up Cazorla to drill a low shot beyond Simon Mignolet.
The Gunners had to play the final 28 minutes with a numerical disadvantage as Carl Jenkinson was issued with a second booking for a dismal late lunge on Stephane Sessegnon.
Stoke claimed their first victory since Boxing Day as a 2-1 success over Reading at the Britannia Stadium halted the Royals' recent resurgence.
Robert Huth struck with a towering far post header from a corner in the 67th minute before Cameron Jerome scored a stunning second with a great shot on the turn nine minutes from time.
Adrian Mariappa halved the deficit with a near post header after a Royals corner, but the kings of the Premier League comeback could not rescue the game on this occasion.
Norwich and Fulham played out a drab stalemate at Carrow Road with neither side looking capable of breaking the deadlock.