This week we had to wait until Sunday for the pick of the games, with Manchester City’s 3-2 win at Blackpool one of the early highlights of an at-times-underwhelming season.
The game was already exciting enough by the time a seemingly-offside Carlos Tevez flicked past Matt Gilks in the ‘Pool goal, but after that it really began to catch fire.
Marlon Harewood glanced in an equaliser before a fortunate deflection helped Tevez get his second, and David Silva’s curler sealed the points before a late consolation from Gary Taylor-Fletcher.
Roberto Mancini will be happy with his side’s attacking intent after switching to a 4-4-2 formation, but the centre-back pairing of Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott looked suspect as the hosts created plenty of presentable chances.
City’s local rivals Manchester United squandered a comfortable lead for the umpteenth time this season after Javier Hernandez and Nani had put them 2-0 up at home to West Brom before half time.
First Chris Brunt’s free-kick went through a paper-thin wall and deflected in of Patrice Evra, and then a howler from Edwin van der Sar allowed Somen Tchoyi to grab his first goal in Baggies colours.
While the draw was the result of individual errors, the United of old would not have surrendered leads on so many occasions.
Both United and City will be thankful that Chelsea failed to extend their lead at the top, although it was not for want of trying.
Branislav Ivanovic and Nicolas Anelka both hit the woodwork as Carlo Ancelotti’s side knocked at the Aston Villa door to no avail.
At the other end the Blues were grateful for some profligacy in front of goal from Gerard Houllier’s men, with Stephen Ireland and Nigel Reo-Coker failing to test Petr Cech when given a good sight of goal.
After their recent struggles, Arsenal got back to winning ways at home to Birmingham, although the visitors made it difficult for them.
Nikola Zigic gave the Blues a first-half lead after Alex McLeish’s men rode an early Arsenal storm, although a disputed penalty – converted by Samir Nasri – brought the hosts level.
Marouane Chamakh, the man felled by Scott Dann for the penalty in question, finally made the breakthrough just after the break, and they had chances to extend their lead before a red card for Jack Wilshere meant the game ended on a sour note.
Another player who saw red late on was Bolton’s Ivan Klasnic, who followed his late winner for Bolton against Stoke with two even later bookings.
Lee Chung-Yong’s classy opener was cancelled out by a rare goal from Rory Delap before Klasnic’s volley on the turn earned Bolton all three points.
Tottenham remained in touch with the top four after a contentious winner helped them see off the spirited challenge of Fulham.
Diomansy Kamara gave Fulham an early lead, but the Senegalese striker also missed a host of chances and Spurs were allowed back into the game when Roman Pavlyuchenko tapped home after Rafael van der Vaart’s deft chip came back off the bar.
Tom Huddlestone’s low 20-yard strike clinched victory for Tottenham, with Fulham claiming William Gallas was offside despite the Frenchman making no contact with the shot.
The four sides occupying the bottom four places faced off this weekend, but Everton are the only ones who can be completely happy with their afternoon’s work.
David Moyes’ men saw off a tame Liverpool side with surprisingly little resistance, Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta with the goals in the Toffees’ most comfortable game this season.
Even with Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Joe Cole in the starting line-up, Liverpool barely posed a threat in attack as they slipped to 19th in the table.
The only side below them are West Ham, who will blame referee Mark Clattenburg for wrongly disallowing what should have been a late winner from Frederic Piquionne.
Mark Noble earlier cancelled out Matt Jarvis’ opener from the penalty spot, before Piquionne was wrongly adjudged to have handled en route to slotting past Marcus Hahnemann.
Fabricio Coloccini’s first ever Premier League goal helped Newcastle come from behind to draw with Wigan, in a game where Charles N’Zogbia came back to wreak revenge on his former club.
The French winger put the Latics 2-0 up inside the first 25 minutes with a couple of well-taken goals, but Shola Ameobi bundled the ball in to give Newcastle hope with 18 minutes remaining.
Then, deep into stoppage time, Andy Carroll headed a Jonas Gutierrez goalwards and Coloccini stooped to nod past Ali Al-Habsi and level the scores.
The Monday night game between Blackburn and Sunderland was a drab affair, perhaps made even less of a spectacle by a red card for Christopher Samba right on half-time.
Blackburn’s Congolese centre-back saw red for a professional foul on Danny Welbeck, but a tired-looking Sunderland side failed to capitalise on their one-man advantage.
The best chances of the game fell to Darren Bent, rushed back after injury kept him out of England’s draw with Montenegro and still looking short of fitness.
Team of the week (4-2-3-1)
Cech (Chelsea); Coleman (Everton), Cahill (Bolton), Distin (Everton), Assou-Ekotto (Tottenham); Stilyan Petrov (Aston Villa), Barton (Newcastle) van der Vaart (Tottenham), N’Zogbia (Wigan), Holden (Bolton); Zigic (Birmingham)