Manchester City squandered an opportunity to replace Chelsea at the Premier League summit after being held to a 1-1 draw by an improved Arsenal side on Saturday.
Chelsea’s 1-0 loss at Crystal Palace meant that victory at Emirates Stadium would have sent City top on goal difference, but they remain third after David Silva’s opener was canceled out by Mathieu Flamini.
The day’s events mean that five points now separate leaders Chelsea and fourth-place Arsenal, who produced a much more determined display after last weekend’s 6-0 demolition by Jose Mourinho’s side.
However, Chelsea’s advantage is paper-thin as City, who trail them by two points, have two games in hand, while second-place Liverpool would go top if they won at home to Tottenham Hotspur yesterday.
City went ahead in the 18th minute when Silva prodded in after a shot from Edin Dzeko came back off the post.
Arsenal drew level when Lukas Podolski was granted space to cross from the left and Flamini flew in to steer a half-volley into the bottom-right corner in the 53rd minute.
Chelsea manager Mourinho had admitted defeat in the title race after his side slumped to a shock loss against relegation-threatened Palace at a sun-soaked Selhurst Park.
A 52nd-minute own goal by Chelsea captain John Terry settled the game, prompting Mourinho to concede: “We depend too much on other results.
Earlier, Wayne Rooney inspired Manchester United to come from behind and beat Villa 4-1 in a game that witnessed a fresh protest against United manager David Moyes.
A small plane towing a banner that read: “WRONG ONE — MOYES OUT” flew over Old Trafford shortly after kick-off and the under-fire former Everton manager then saw his side fall behind to an Ashley Westwood free-kick.
However, Rooney scored twice before half-time, with Juan Mata and Javier Hernandez adding goals as the under-performing champions inched to within 10 points of the top four.
Elsewhere, Mats Moller Daehli scored a 95th-minute equalizer as third-bottom Cardiff City prevented West Bromwich Albion from climbing six points clear of the relegation zone in a dramatic 3-3 draw at The Hawthorns.
A breathtaking lob from wide on the right by Morgan Amalfitano put West Brom ahead in the second minute, and Graham Dorrans added a second goal seven minutes later.
A 30-yard Jordon Mutch strike and a Steven Caulker header brought Cardiff level, only for Thievy Bifouma to restore West Brom’s lead in the 94th minute, but Daehli smashed home an equalizer with the last kick of the game.
The Norwegian’s goal left Cardiff three points below 17th-place West Brom, having played an extra game.
Swansea City eased their own relegation fears by winning 3-0 at home to Norwich City, while Southampton crushed Newcastle United 4-0 and Peter Odemwingie gave Stoke City a 1-0 win over Hull City.