LONDON (AFP) - Manchester City capitalised on a stumble from Chelsea to tighten their grip on second place in the English Premier League on Saturday, after Manchester United took another stride towards the title.
United won 1-0 at Sunderland in the early game to reach 77 points but City cut their advantage back to 15 points ahead of the forthcoming Manchester derby, by crushing Newcastle United 4-0 at the Etihad Stadium.
City now have a five-point cushion in second place, after Chelsea saw their hopes of Champions League qualification compromised in a 1-2 loss at Southampton.
Southampton have now beaten City, Liverpool and Chelsea at home this year, and Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur were the chief beneficiaries of their latest success.
Spurs won 2-1 at Swansea to leapfrog Chelsea into third place on 55 points, although they have played a game more.
Fifth-place Arsenal closed to within just two points of Chelsea after a 4-1 win at home to Reading, who sank to the foot of the table in new manager Nigel Adkins' first game in charge.
Defeat left Sunderland four points above the relegation zone in 16th place, although they have played at least a game more than the teams immediately below them.
Elsewhere on Saturday, an 81st-minute goal from Arouna Kone gave Wigan a 1-0 win at home to Norwich that hauled Roberto Martinez's side out of the relegation zone at Aston Villa's expense.
Meanwhile, Andy Carroll scored twice, with Gary O'Neil also on target, as West Ham eased their own relegation fears by beating West Bromwich Albion 3-1.