Away woe for United, Liverpool
Manchester United missed out on the chance to go level on points with English Premier League leaders Chelsea for 24 hours at least as they lost 3-0 against an excellent Fulham side at Craven Cottage.
A poor pass out of defence by makeshift centre-half Darren Fletcher allowed Danny Murphy to rob Paul Scholes and drive the opener just inside Tomasz Kuszczak's right-hand post from the edge of the area. In-form forward Bobby Zamora then doubled the Cottagers lead a minute after the restart when he slotted home after Clint Dempsey had headed down Damien Duff's far-post cross, and Zamora's cushioned pass allowed Duff to volley in a fine third (75).
Manchester City's Roque Santa Cruz grabbed a double as Mark Hughes' men claimed a thrilling 4-3 win over Sunderland. Striker Santa Cruz put the hosts ahead after only four minutes when he turned in Craig Bellamy's pass from close range before a foul by Nyron Nosworthy on Bellamy allowed Carlos Tevez to slot home a second from the penalty spot in the 12th minute.
John Mensah headed in Andy Reid's cross to pull one back for the Black Cats (16), before poor defensive work allowed Jordan Henderson to smash the ball beyond Shay Given to level the scores (24). Wales striker Bellamy coolly converted from Shaun-Wright Phillips' cross to put City back in front after 35 minutes, only for Kenwyne Jones to head home at the near post from a Henderson cross to equalise again (62).
But England midfielder Gareth Barry sprung the offside trap and his ball across the six-yard box saw Santa Cruz slot home the winner (69), with Michael Turner being sent off late on for the visitors after elbowing Barry.
Reds suffer at Pompey
Liverpool's hopes of qualifying for next season's UEFA Champions League were dealt another blow as they fell to a miserable 2-0 Premier League defeat against Portsmouth at Fratton Park.
Rafael Benitez's side went behind when Nadir Belhadj volleyed home from an acute angle after 33 minutes, and things got worse for the Reds when Argentinian midfielder Javier Mascherano saw red for a crude lunge on Pompey defender Tal Ben-Haim. Frederic Piquionne then made the points safe for Avram Grant's basement side as he thundered in a volley from Kevin-Prince Boateng's cross in the 82nd minute.
Tottenham won 2-0 at Blackburn thanks to a brace from Peter Crouch. The striker showed good strength to meet Niko Kranjcar's cross and head in off the underside of the crossbar on the stroke of half-time and he claimed his second when Jermaine Jenas' pass gave him time to pick his spot and slot home (83). Franco Di Santo had fired tamely at Heurelho Gomes from Rovers' best chance.
John Carew's header was enough to see Villa climb to third in the table with a 1-0 win over Stoke, the Norwegian profiting from a superb, pinpoint cross from Ashley Young in the 61st minute. Midfielder Stiliyan Petrov and striker Gabriel Agbonlahor had both forced fine saves from Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen at Villa Park, with Glenn Whelan blazing over for the Potters during a goalless first half.