A calamitous mistake by Southampton goalkeeper Artur Boruc set Arsenal en route to a 2-0 victory that sent the English Premier League leaders four points clear at the top of the table.
Arsenal had already hit the woodwork through Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey at the Emirates Stadium when Boruc attempted to outwit Olivier Giroud with some fancy footwork inside his penalty area in the 22nd minute.
The Poland international attempted one drag-back too many, however, enabling Giroud to steal possession and stab home the opening goal.
Giroud made sure of victory with four minutes remaining, registering his tenth goal of the season from the penalty spot after Jose Fonte had been penalised for pulling Per Mertesacker's shirt.
Victory left Arsenal four points above second-place Liverpool, while Southampton remain third but will slip off the podium if Chelsea avoid defeat at West Ham United in the day's late game.
Freshly-appointed Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis watched from the stands as his new side survived the dismissal of Yannick Bolasie to win 1-0 at Hull City.
Bolasie was sent off for a clumsy challenge on Jake Livermore in the 78th minute, but Barry Bannan scored from a Cameron Jerome cut-back three minutes later to give Palace a first away win of the campaign.
Charlie Adam and Steven Nzoni scored in either half for Stoke, while Wes Brown was sent off for a seemingly clean challenge on Adam in the 36th minute, provoking a furious reaction from Sunderland manager Gus Poyet.
Fulham remain in the bottom three after losing 2-1 at home to Swansea City, for whom Jonjo Shelvey claimed an 80th-minute winner after Scott Parker had cancelled out an own goal by Fulham centre-back Aaron Hughes.
Yoan Gouffran was also on target for Newcastle, with Leroy Fer replying for Norwich, as Alan Pardew's side moved to within a point of the UEFA Champions League places after a third consecutive victory.