Frank Lampard issued another timely contract reminder to Roman Abramovich as Chelsea eased the pressure on manager Rafael Benitez with a 4-1 win over Wigan Athletic at Stamford Bridge. Lampard lashed his 198th career goal for the Blues in the 86th minute to settle his side's nerves after the visitors had briefly threatened to pile more misery upon Benitez.
Ramires put Chelsea in front in the 23rd minute and Eden Hazard returned from his ball boy suspension when he struck a low right-foot shot to increase the home side's lead after 56 minutes. But Wigan reduced the deficit when Shaun Maloney scored from a tight angle on 58 minutes, and the Latics threatened before Lampard intervened to effectively seal the three points.
The home side gave the final score a slightly lop-sided look when late substitute Marko Marin headed his first goal for the club in injury-time.
Rock-bottom Queens Park Ranger sunk closer to relegation after a dismal 4-1 defeat at Swansea. Michu set the Swans on their way to victory with his eighth minute opener and Angel Rangel increased the home side's lead from close-range in the 18th minute.
Despite substitute Bobby Zamora briefly reducing the deficit, Pablo Hernandez restored Swansea's two-goal cushion on 50 minutes before Michu slid home his 15th league goal of the season to seal an easy win.
Ten-man Arsenal march on
Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny produced some late heroics as the ten-man Gunners were forced to cling on for a 1-0 win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. Arsene Wenger's men played the last half-hour with ten men following Carl Jenkinson's sending-off for a second bookable offence.
Santi Cazorla made the decisive breakthrough in the 35th minute with a low shot past Simon Mignolet, who had earlier saved well from Aaron Ramsey. Theo Walcott hit the post early in the second half but Sunderland finished in style with both Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson denied late on by superb saves from Szczesny.
Elsewhere, Robert Huth headed his first goal since April last year to send Stoke City on their way to a 2-1 win over relegation-threatened Reading at the Britannia Stadium. Huth nodded the opener in off the bar in the 67th minute and Cameron Jerome smashed home the Potters' second goal nine minutes from time. Adrian Mariappa grabbed a late consolation for the Royals.
Norwich City stretched their winless Premier League streak to nine games after a low-key goalless draw with Fulham. The result also means Martin Jol's Cottagers have won just two from their last ten.
In the lunchtime kick-off, more heroics from Gareth Bale boosted Tottenham Hotspur's UEFA Champions League ambitions with a 2-1 win over Newcastle United. Bale's early free-kick put Spurs in front before Yoan Gouffran equalised for the Magpies on 24 minutes, only to be later carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg.
Newcastle's misery was complete ten minutes from time when Bale converted at the end of a swift counter-attack to give his side the points.