Manchester City beat Chelsea 2-0 on Sunday to close to within 12 points of Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table.
The champion was grateful to goalkeeper Joe Hart for saving a Frank Lampard penalty before Yaya Toure scored a brilliant opener and Carlos Tevez added a second.
Newcastle United eased its relegation fears with a 4-2 win over Southampton in the day’s other game.
Demba Ba tumbled over Hart to earn a 51st-minute penalty at the Etihad, giving Frank Lampard the chance to score his 200th goal for the club.
His kick was low and firm, but Hart dove to his right to make the save.
As a tight, edgy game opened up, David Silva held the ball up and laid it back to Toure, who wobbled through two challenges and poked the ball in via the inside of the post to give City a 63rd-minute lead.
Tevez swept in the second from the edge of the box with six minutes remaining.
The defeat leaves Chelsea seven points behind City and just a point clear of Tottenham Hotspur in fourth.
Spurs will climb above it if it beats West Ham United on Monday.Newcastle stands six points clear of the relegation zone, three ahead of Southampton.
The results: Manchester City 2 (Yaya Toure 63, Carlos Tevez 85) bt Chelsea 0; Newcastle United 4 (M. Sissoko 33, P. Cissé 42, Cabaye 67-pen, J. Hooiveld 79-og) bt Southampton 2 (M. Schneiderlin 3, R. Lambert 50).