Chelsea and Liverpool stumble on day of upsets
Chelsea drew 0-0 at Norwich City, Newcastle crashed 5-2 at Fulham and Liverpool, who had beaten Bolton Wanderers in their last 10 league meetings over the past five years, lost 3-1 at the Reebok Stadium as the home side climbed out of the bottom three for the first time since mid-September.
There was also a notable win for Queens Park Rangers, who moved out of the relegation zone after beating bottom side Wigan Athletic 3-1 to record their first league win in 10 games and their first three points under new coach Mark Hughes.
With four of the top five not playing until Sunday, Chelsea had a chance to close the gap but missed out at Norwich.
The West London side remain fourth, five points behind Harry Redknapp's high-flying Tottenham team.
Chelsea coach Andre Villas-Boas said his side did not do well enough at Norwich despite dominating much of the game as they were thwarted by a fine goalkeeping display by John Ruddy.
Chelsea's Spain striker Fernando Torres, their 50 million pounds signing from Liverpool a year ago, failed to find the net for the 17th successive match for club and country.
Chelsea also lost England midfielder Frank Lampard with a suspected torn calf muscle in the first half.
Villas-Boas, who delayed giving a debut to England defender Gary Cahill, the club's new signing from Bolton, said Chelsea should have done better and a point was not enough.
"It was a frustrating day because we were dominant, particularly in the second half, but we just couldn't find the net," he told Sky Sports.
"I thought John Ruddy was magnificent for them and for the coordination of his defence, but for our progress in the league a point is not enough."
Regarding another goalless Torres appearance, he added: "He had good chances and to have good chances you have to position yourself well, and with a bit more luck he will find the back of the net.
In some respects Chelsea's West London neighbours Fulham did them a favour by crushing Newcastle who stayed in sixth place on 36 points, five behind Chelsea.
Danny Guthrie put Newcastle ahead just before half-time with a superb strike, before Fulham netted four quick goals with Clint Dempsey scoring twice before adding a third later on for his second hat-trick in three games.
Danny Murphy and Bobby Zamora also converted penalties for Fulham who climbed to 12th.
Dempsey told the BBC: "We never found our rhythm in the first half but we began to get into their penalty area in the second half.
"Danny Murphy scored the first goal and then we kept going and going. Luckily the ball kept going in. We never took our foot off the gas and we took our chances."