Both Chelsea and Manchester City capitalized on Liverpool’s shock defeat by Hull City on Sunday to leapfrog the Merseysiders and close the gap on Premier League leaders Arsenal.
Chelsea recovered from conceding a goal inside the first minute at Stamford Bridge, when Jay Rodriguez pounced on a poor back-pass from Michael Essien, to beat high-flyers Southampton 3-1.
Second-half goals from central defenders Gary Cahill and John Terry, on his 400th league appearance, put Chelsea in front before substitute Demba Ba sealed victory with a 90th minute effort.
The win took Chelsea, now in second place, to within four points of Arsenal.
“What can you do when they score after 13 seconds?” Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said. “We kept calm and the second-half performance was really good. We showed heart and a bit of quality.”
“In this crazy league, this result is important, as once again title contenders have dropped points,” he added.
Meanwhile, City, who went third, were six points adrift of Arsenal after another impressive home display saw Swansea City beaten 3-0.
Samir Nasri scored twice after Alvaro Negredo broke the deadlock in just the eighth minute at Eastlands.
“I’m very pleased because we won against a very difficult team, especially when they had possession,” said City manager Manuel Pellegrini, who again fielded Costel Pantilimon in preference to England goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Earlier, Hull beat Liverpool for the first time in their history with a 3-1 win at the KC Stadium.
Liverpool started the match in second place, but the result dropped them to third, even before Chelsea had kicked off, and City’s win meant they finished the day in fourth place.
Hull took a 20th minute lead when Jake Livermore, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, scored his first Premier League goal with a deflected 25 yard shot
However, Liverpool were level seven minutes later, when England captain Steven Gerrard swept in a 20 yard free-kick.
However, Hull put the result beyond doubt with two goals inside the final 20 minutes, David Meyler netting before Liverpool’s Martin Skrtel turned Tom Huddlestone’s shot into his own net.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers said Liverpool had suffered from being without injured leading goalscorer Daniel Sturridge.
Earlier, champions Manchester United needed two goals from Wayne Rooney to help them twice come from behind in a 2-2 draw away to Tottenham Hotspur.
Spurs went ahead through a Kyle Walker free-kick and then made it 2-1 thanks to a stunning strike from Sandro.
However, Rooney hit back on both occasions, although the draw left United nine points adrift of Arsenal.
“We’re concerned that we’re not as close as we’d like to be, but it’s a long season,” United manager David Moyes said.