Chelsea maintained their five-point lead over champions Arsenal today after a second-half blitz against Newcastle.
Didier Drogba came off the bench at half-time to inspire the 4-0 win, setting up Frank Lampard for the opener with a deft header after 63 minutes. The Ivory Coast striker then scored himself with a confident run and finish six minutes later.
Arjen Robben added a third with a minute remaining and Mateja Kezman wrapped up the scoring with a fantastic chipped penalty, his first goal in the Barclays Premiership.
The Gunners recorded a comfortable 3-0 win against Birmingham, ensuring they did not slip further behind Jose Mourinho’s team.
Successfully frustrated by the Blues for most of the first half, Robert Pires scored the opener after 33 minutes at Highbury. The France winger’s cross ricocheted back to him and he curled the ball around Maik Taylor.
Substitute Clinton Morrison almost levelled with his first touch of the game - but Manuel Almunia just managed to claw the ball back from on the line.
Thierry Henry scored a second with a calm finish with 10 minutes remaining - and added a third with a far-post header.
Liverpool could not convert their chances against Aston Villa and ended with a disappointing 1-1 draw at Villa Park.
Steven Gerrard’s free-kick after 16 minutes was headed across the face of the goal by Jamie Carragher and Harry Kewell finished from close range.
Neil Mellor missed chances for the visitors and Nolberto Solano equalised with a free-kick from 25 yards just before the break, although Chris Kirkland should have saved.
High-flying Everton came from behind twice to secure a thrilling 3-2 against Bolton at Goodison Park.
Stelios Giannakopoulos’ 16th minute free-kick could only be palmed away by Nigel Martyn – and Kevin Davies slammed the ball home for the opener.
Duncan Ferguson levelled just before half-time with a powerful header, but Davies restored the lead just before the hour-mark with a fine finish.
The Toffees equalised again through a controversial free-kick with 15 minutes remaining. Jay-Jay Okocha was booked for charging down Lee Carsley’s first set play – and Thomas Gravesen scored the retaken effort.
Radhi Jaidi deflected Leon Osman’s shot into his own goal to give the points to David Moyes’ side.
Manchester United eventually broke down Southampton’s stubborn defence to win 3-0 at Old Trafford.
It took 53 minutes to break the deadlock, Paul Scholes scoring from close range after Rio Ferdinand put Ryan Giggs’ corner across the face of the goal.
Saints striker James Beattie was taken off midway through the first half with a recurrence of a calf injury – and the visitors posed little attacking threat.
Wayne Rooney added a second when he broke the offside trap and smashed in off the underside of the crossbar. Cristiano Ronaldo scored a third late on.
West Brom remained bottom after a 3-2 defeat at Portsmouth at Fratton Park.
The Baggies took the lead after 14 minutes when Dejan Stefanovic turned Neil Clement’s cross into his own net.
Darren Purse’s 35th-minute own goal levelled the scores, the centre-back squeezing Stefanovic’s cross in at the near post. But Robert Earnsaw took advantage of a mistake from goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown to put Albion ahead just before half-time.
The visitors looked on course for their first win under Bryan Robson but Arjan de Zeeuw scored a late equaliser an Lomana LuaLua scored in the final moments with a thumping drive.
Norwich are still deep in relegation trouble after a 1-0 defeat to Fulham at Carrow Road.
Chris Coleman’s side, who had lost their last four games, got off to a great start with Steed Malbranque’s pass flicked on by Brian McBride and Andy Cole finishing through the legs of Canaries keeper Robert Green.
The home side could have moved above the Cottagers in the league with a win, but rarely threatened.