Unexpected defeats for Chelsea and Manchester United allowed champions Manchester City to stroll into first place in the Premier League on Saturday by crushing Aston Villa 5-0.
United's 1-0 loss in the late kick-off at Norwich City prevented them from returning to the summit, while third-place Chelsea have now gone four games without a win after losing 2-1 at West Bromwich Albion.
David Silva's scrappy 43rd-minute goal put City ahead at the Etihad Stadium, before penalties from Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez -- awarded for handballs by Andreas Weimann and Barry Bannan -- made it 3-0.
Aguero beat Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan at his near post to claim his second goal in the 67th minute and Tevez then tapped home the fifth, as City warmed up for Wednesday's vital Champions League encounter with Real Madrid in style.
"In the last two games, I think we changed something. In our mind we found a good spirit, like last year," said City coach Roberto Mancini, whose side beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 last weekend.
The result dropped Villa into the bottom three and took City a point above former leaders United, who slumped to their third defeat of the campaign at Carrow Road.
Javier Hernandez started up front for the visitors after inspiring last weekend's 3-2 win at Villa, but it was former United trainee Anthony Pilkington who claimed the game's only goal with an excellent 60th-minute header.
United's best chance of an equaliser saw Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy produce a flying save to prevent Sebastien Bassong from scoring an injury-time own goal, as Chris Hughton's side held firm to claim another prized scalp after last month's 1-0 win at home to Arsenal.
"We're disappointed to lose the game, but we give credit to Norwich for the way they fought and battled," United coach Alex Ferguson, who was without Wayne Rooney due to tonsilitis, told ESPN.
Meanwhile, Chelsea's early-season momentum appears to have fizzled out completely after their defeat at coach Roberto Di Matteo's former club left them four points off the pace.
Shane Long put West Brom ahead at the Hawthorns with a 10th-minute header and then teed up Peter Odemwingie for what proved to be the winner after Eden Hazard's header drew the visitors level six minutes before half-time.
Arsenal 5 (Mertesacker 24, Podolski 42, Giroud 45, Cazorla 60, Walcott 90) Tottenham 2 (Adebayor 10, Bale 71)
Liverpool 3 (Suarez 47, 58,
Enrique 65) Wigan 0
Man City 5 (Silva 43, Aguero 54-pen, 67, Tevez 65-pen, 74) Aston Villa 0
Newcastle 1 (Ba 90) Swansea 2 (Michu 58, De Guzman 87)
Norwich 1 (Pilkington 60) Man Utd 0
QPR 1 (Hoilett 49) Southampton 3 (Lambert 23, Puncheon 45,
Reading 2 (Le Fondre 51, 79-pen) Everton 1 (Naismith 10)
West Brom 2 (Long 10, Odemwingie 50) Chelsea 1 (Hazard 39)