Frank Lampard marked the extension of his Manchester City stay by grabbing the winner in a 3-2 victory over Sunderland which turned up the pressure on Premier League leaders Chelsea's evening clash with Tottenham.
The game at the Etihad Stadium burst into life when Yaya Toure rifled City into the lead shortly before the hour mark and Stevan Jovetic back-heeled a second.
Jack Rodwell's header and a penalty from fellow City old boy Adam Johnson, after Pablo Zabaleta fouled Santiago Vergini, got Sunderland dramatically back on terms.
But Lampard, on for Jovetic having extended his loan from New York City FC, restored the Blues' lead to ensure his former club would kick off at White Hart Lane only level on points with City.
John Carver's stint as Newcastle caretaker manager began with a thrilling game in which they led Burnley three times but had to settle for a draw.
Local boys Steven Taylor and Jack Colback put the Magpies ahead but Paul Dummett's shambolic own goal and Danny Ings' strike had Burnley level on each occasion.
Moussa Sissoko restored the Magpies' advantage but George Boyd's low angled drive made it 3-3.
Liverpool also let a winning position slip as Leicester came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Anfield.
The hosts led through two Steven Gerrard penalties but two goals in three minutes, from David Nugent and Jeff Schlupp, levelled matters.
Southampton remained in the top four after an excellent 2-0 win over nearest pursuers Arsenal.
Sadio Mane beat Wojciech Szczesny from a tight angle for the first goal and if the Poland goalkeeper's positioning was questionable on that occasion, his panicked hack clear amid defensive confusion allowed Dusan Tadic to poke home the second.
Manchester United were perhaps fortunate to escape with a 1-1 draw from their lunchtime encounter with Stoke.
The Potters took an early lead when Ryan Shawcross deftly turned in Peter Crouch's header but Radamel Falcao equalised for United.
Stoke had penalty appeals rejected when Crouch's header struck Chris Smalling's arm and when the former England striker hit the post and Geoff Cameron may have been impeded as he challlenged for the rebound, but they had to settle for a point.
Sixth-placed West Ham drew 1-1 with West Brom. Diafra Sakho headed the hosts in front from Aaron Cresswell's cross but Saido Berahino exchanged passes with Stephane Sessegnon before slotting home the equaliser as new Baggies boss Tony Pulis watched on from the stands.
Hull were one of several struggling teams to pick up much-needed points as they inflicted a fourth successive league defeat on Everton.
Ahmed Elmohamady headed in fellow wing-back Liam Rosenior's cross and Nikica Jelavic sprung the offside trap to lob goalkeeper Joel Robles before Everton lost Antolin Alcaraz to a second yellow card late on.
Swansea left it late to earn a 1-1 draw against QPR at Loftus Road.
Leroy Fer's 25-yard rocket gave Rangers a 20th-minute lead and Swansea ended the game with 10 men when Wayne Routledge was sent off for an angry reaction to a late tackle from Karl Henry - for which the midfielder was booked.
But they snatched a stoppage-time equaliser when substitute Wilfried Bony produced an opportunistic finish.
Aston Villa and Crystal Palace - the latter widely expected to announce Alan Pardew as their new manager - played out a goalless draw enlivened only by Yannick Bolasie's spectacular effort against the crossbar for the visitors.