Manchester United’s bid to close the gap on Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea began with a late kick-off against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light and the delay appeared to affect the visitors more than their opponents.
Having started 20 minutes late as a result of a burst pipe in their dressing room Alex Ferguson’s side began on the back foot.
Steed Malbranque should have put the Black Cats ahead early on when presented with an opportunity just eight yards out but failed to beat goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar who saved low down.
Rafael van der Vaart struck just before half-time to put Tottenham back on level terms with Aston Villa at White Hart Lane.
In the 16th minute Villa striker Emile Heskey, who went off injured just before half-time, won the ball close to the byline and picked out Marc Albrighton to convert from close range.
Spurs almost equalised when Roman Pavlyuchenko’s effort rebounded off Richard Dunne and rolled across the face of the goal but Alan Hutton could only shoot into the side-netting.
But Van Der Vaart levelled things up from Peter Crouch’s header.
USA striker Clint Dempsey, whose shot embarrassed Robert Green when the two met at the World Cup this summer, beat the West Ham goalkeeper again to put Fulham ahead at Upton Park.
When the ball looped up off Luis Boa Morte Dempsey’s volley this time gave Green absolutely no chance just after the half-hour.
Wigan secured their first home league win of the season as they beat 10-man Wolves 2-0 at the DW Stadium.
Karl Henry was sent off in only the 11th minute for a late tackle on Jordi Gomez, who eventually made the breakthrough with an unstoppable free-kick midway through the second half from the edge of the penalty area.
Hugo Rodallega clinched victory with five minutes to go as Wolves slipped into the bottom three after a fourth successive defeat.
Goals were in short supply elsewhere with Birmingham v Everton, Stoke v Blackburn, and West Brom v Bolton all failing to break the deadlock.