Arsenal and Manchester City showed they have the stomach for a title fight on Saturday with the Premier League leaders sinking Newcastle United 1-0 and Manuel Pellegrini's men launching a late comeback to beat Watford 2-1.
There was celebration at last for Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal as his team ended a dismal six-game league streak without a win by defeating Swansea City 2-1.
Arsenal's victory was scrappy and nervy but Laurent Koscielny's 72nd-minute winner was enough to move them two points clear at the summit after Leicester City's surprise push faltered with a goalless draw at home to 10-man Bournemouth.
Manchester City underlined their credentials as Arsenal's main challengers and although they looked forlorn for much of the game at Vicarage Road, they showed their mettle in the closing stages.
Trailing 1-0 to Aleksandar Kolarov's own goal, Yaya Toure volleyed home superbly in the 82nd minute and Sergio Aguero headed the winner moments later to wrap up a precious win that kept them three points behind the pacesetters.
Arsenal are continuing to defy predictions that they lack the consistency of genuine title challengers and while they were not on top form at home to Newcastle, the Londoners did enough to scrape a victory under pressure.