Manchester City failed to cut the gap on Premier League leaders Manchester United after being held to a goalless draw at rock-bottom Queens Park Rangers.
The defending champions had the opportunity to put the pressure on their city rivals, with the Red Devils in action tomorrow night, but found QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar in fine form. Gareth Barry and David Silva both saw their efforts fantastically saved by the former Inter Milan keeper, while Pablo Zabaleta's header from Silva's cross came back off the crossbar.
Adel Taarabt wasted QPR's best chance of the match when he saw his shot well saved by Joe Hart after bursting through on goal. While the hosts remain rooted to the foot of the table, they are now just two points behind Reading.
Newcastle's new signings deliver
Newcastle United held off a spirited second-half resistance from Aston Villa to move four points clear of the relegation zone with a 2-1 win at Villa Park. Toon boss Alan Pardew fielded two of his four new French signings and one of them, Moussa Sissoko, played in striker Papiss Cisse, who took a touch and slotted low past Brad Guzan in the 19th minute.
The visitors looked to be cruising to their first away victory in any competition this season when Yohan Cabaye magnificently volleyed into the top corner from 25 yards just after the half hour. Beleaguered Villa manager Paul Lambert made two changes at the break, with Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann replacing Joe Bennett and Darren Bent.
The changes seemed to pay dividends as they won a penalty after Mathieu Debuchy was adjudged to have tripped Agbonlahor on the edge of the penalty area, with Christian Benteke sending Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul the wrong way in the 49th minute. Krul, however, made several fine saves thereafter as Villa desperately pressed for an equaliser.
It was not to be, however, and Villa now occupy the final relegation place after second-half goals from James McArthur and Franco Di Santo helped Wigan Athletic rescue a 2-2 draw at Stoke City.
Wigan battle back, Sunderland nearly stumble
Stoke looked firmly on course for the first Premier League win in five matches when Ryan Shawcross volleyed them ahead in the 23rd minute before Peter Crouch doubled their lead after Charlie Adam's strike had been parried by Latics goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi shortly after half-time.
But Wigan showed their battling qualities and halved the deficit almost immediately when McArthur coolly finished after running through on goal before Di Santo secured a well-earned point when he rifled into the net from McArthur's knockdown.
Sunderland transfer target Danny Graham almost gave visiting Swansea all three points in their clash at the Stadium of Light but the two teams had to settle for a goalless draw. Graham, a 74th-minute substitute, looked set to fire home from point-blank range but Titus Bramble's valiant interception saved a point for the hosts.