United, City & Spurs win on goal-laden day
Manchester United beat West Bromwich Albion 2-0 to preserve their seven-point lead over second-placed Manchester City, who, at a numerical disadvantage, scraped to a 4-3 win at Norwich City.
The Red Devils quickly got down to business quickly and went ahead in the ninth minute. The scorer wore a blue and white shirt, however, with Baggies defender Gareth McAuley inadvertently shinning the ball into his own goal after Ashley Young drove a low cross across the face of goal.
Former United goalkeeper Ben Foster tipped a Young shot on to the crossbar, but United were not able to breathe easily until substitute Robin van Persie curled a glorious shot into the top-left corner in the last minute.
Manchester City lost Samir Nasri to a first-half red card at Norwich, but edged an open-ended encounter thanks in no small part to Edin Dzeko, who scored twice and might have had a hat-trick. The Bosnian, who has had to become accustomed to a role on the substitutes' bench this season, struck twice inside the opening four minutes to put the visitors control at Carrow Road.
But Norwich hit back through a deflected Anthony Pilkington free-kick, and the visitors were then dealt a blow when Nasri was sent off for aiming a head-butt at Sebastien Bassong.
Sergio Aguero's deft, lobbed finish restored City's two-goal cushion in the 50th minute and although Russell Martin headed in for Norwich, Dzeko made it 4-2 when his shot hit the post and bounced in off Norwich goalkeeper Mark Bunn. Martin scored again with 15 minutes to go, prodding in from close range after City failed to clear a corner, but Roberto Mancini's men were able to hang on.
Aston Villa's recent miseries continued as they sank 3-0 at home to Wigan Athletic. Goals from Ivan Ramis, Emmerson Boyce and Arouna Kone put paid to Paul Lambert's young team, who have now shipped 15 goals in three games after losing 8-0 to Chelsea and 4-0 to Tottenham Hotspur.
Villa, Fulham woes continue, Spurs maintain form
Villa would have slipped into the relegation zone had third-bottom Southampton not been denied victory in a 3-3 draw at Stoke City by a sensational 25-yard strike from Cameron Jerome. Southampton had led 3-1, and played against ten men following the 71st-minute dismissal of Steven N'Zonzi, but second-bottom Reading did a better job of defending a lead in a 1-0 home win over West Ham United.
Fulham's dismal form continued, meanwhile, as they lost 2-1 at home to Swansea City.
In the lunch-time game, Tottenham overturned a half-time deficit to win 2-1 at Sunderland, provisionally moving them into third place. Spurs bossed the first half at a rain-sodden Stadium of Light, hitting the bar through Emmanuel Adebayor, but fell behind in the 40th minute when John O'Shea scored after Hugo Lloris had saved superbly from Steven Fletcher. However, a Carlos Cuellar own-goal saw the visitors draw level three minutes into the second period, before man-of-the-match Aaron Lennon completed the comeback with a composed finish in the 51st minute.
Andre Villas-Boas' side have taken 19 points from a possible 24 and are now a point above third-place Chelsea, who have two games in hand and visit Everton on Sunday.
Ten-goal stunner in North London
The day finished with a thrilling encounter at the Emirates stadium, where a topsy-turvy game ended in an Arsenal landslide as they beat Newcastle United 7-3.
Arsenal's record scorer Thierry Henry was in the stands watching his beloved former club and he was on his feet after 20 minutes thanks to Walcott's opener - a fine curled finish following an Henry-esque break from the halfway line. Newcastle pulled level through Demba Ba, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored, only for Ba to grab his second to make it 2-2.
Arsenal looked set for a disappointing draw after Sylvain Marveaux equalised following Lukasz Podolski's header, but Walcott turned on the class to put the Gunners 4-3 up. The former Southampton man set up Olivier Giroud twice and added his much-deserved third strike in injury time with a deft chip over Tim Krul.