Rovers' top scorer helps see off QPR
Blackburn striker Yakubu returned from suspension with the opening goal as Rovers raced into a 3-0 lead over Queens Park Rangers, before holding off a late comeback to win 3-2.
Elsewhere, there were vital wins at the bottom for Wigan and West Bromwich Albion.
At the other end of the table, Manchester City were made to work for a 1-0 win at Aston Villa, United saw off Liverpool and Newcastle were thumped by Tottenham.
Aston Villa 0 Man City 1
Joleon Lescott scored the only goal of the game, prodding the ball home from close-range after Gareth Barry headed back across goal from a corner.
Blackburn 3 QPR 2
Yakubu returned to the starting line-up to fire Rovers in front, controlling Paul Robinson's free kick, which was flicked on by Steven N'Zonzi, before spinning and firing home.
N'Zonzi doubled the lead himself, curling the ball in from the edge of the box after a lay-off from David Hoilett.
Hoilett created the third too, just before half-time, hitting a low first-time shot which deflected in off Nedum Onuoha for an own goal.
The visitors rallied after the break and pulled a goal back through substitute Jamie Mackie, who turned in Taye Taiwo's cross from close-range.
Mackie added a second in stoppage time, receiving the ball from Adel Taarabt before smashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner, but it was too-little-too-late.
Bolton 1 Wigan 2
Gary Caldwell headed in Jean Beausejour's corner to put the league's bottom club in front just before half-time.
Mark Davies smashed Bolton level with 20 minutes remaining when the ball hit David Ngog on the back and fell kindly for him.
James McArthur scored the winner 15 minutes from the end, turning in Victor Moses' low cross from close-range.
Everton 2 Chelsea 0
Steven Pienaar scored for the first time since returning to Everton to put the home side in front when he latched onto a loose ball, which had hit a Chelsea defender and diverted into his path, and slotted past Petr Cech.
Denis Stracqualursi doubled the advantage, running onto a through ball from Landon Donovan and side-footing the ball into the net.
Fulham 2 Stoke 1
Pavel Pogrebnyak opened the scoring on his debut for Fulham, controlling John Arne Riise's effort and slotting home.
Thomas Sorensen's own goal made it 2-0, the Dane was unfortunate when Clint Dempsey's shot hit the crossbar and went in off the Stoke keeper's back.
Ryan Shawcross headed in Jermaine Pennant's corner with 12 minutes to go, but it was just a consolation.
Man Utd 2 Liverpool 1
Wayne Rooney put Manchester United in front minutes into the second half, smashing the ball home from close range after Ryan Giggs' corner had been flicked on by Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson.
Henderson's header did not alter the direction of Giggs' in-swinging corner and so did not remove the assist from the Manchester United man.
Rooney doubled the lead three minutes later, sliding the ball past Jose Reina after being found by Luis Antonio Valencia.
Luis Suarez pulled a goal back for Liverpool 10 minutes from time, prodding in from close-range after a free-kick hit Rio Ferdinand and dropped kindly for him.
Ferdinand significantly altered the direction of the free-kick, inadvertently controlling it into Suarez's path, and so no assist was given.
Sunderland 1 Arsenal 2
James McClean opened the scoring 20 minutes from time, capitalising on an unfortunate injury to Per Mertesacker to run onto a loose ball and fire home from a tight angle.
Substitute Aaron Ramsey levelled for Arsenal, hitting a shot from the edge of the box after the ball had deflected too him off a Sunderland defender.
Thierry Henry scored a last-gasp winner for the visitors, turning in Andrei Arshavin's cross from close-range.
Swansea 2 Norwich 3
Danny Graham powerfully fired Swansea in front after latching onto a through ball from Nathan Dyer.
Grant Holt's looping header levelled the scores after Elliot Ward had excellently kept the ball alive and hooked it back into the danger area.
Anthony Pilkington put Norwich in front for the first time, picking up the ball from Elliott Bennett and finding the net via a huge deflection.
Holt extended the lead, slotting in a third goal after being found by Bennett just after the hour-mark.
Graham set up a nervy finale when he scored his second of the game from the penalty spot, after Ashley Williams had been fouled, but there was not enough time for a leveller.
Tottenham 5 Newcastle 0
Tottenham were in front after just four minutes when Emmanuel Adebayor crossed low for Benoit Assou-Ekotto to slot in at the far post.
Louis Saha doubled the lead two minutes later, with Adebayor again the provider when he crossed for the Frenchman to guide home.
Saha added his second of the game midway through the half, firing home after a lay-off from Adebayor.
Adebayor got his fourth assist of the evening on the half hour mark, when he cushioned the ball into the path of the on-rushing Niko Kranjcar who smashed a ball low into the net.
Adebayor deservedly got in the scoresheet himself in the second half when he acrobatically turned in Saha's downward header.
Wolves 1 West Brom 5
Peter Odemwingie opened the scoring with a curled effort from the edge of the box, after a pass from Youssuf Mulumbu.
Steven Fletcher fired Wolves level right on half-time, receiving the ball from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake before spinning and finding the corner of the net.
Jonas Olsson restored Albion's lead, shooting from the edge of the box, after being found by Keith Andrews' header, before Wayne Hennessey spilled the ball over the line.
Odemwingie scored his second of the match with 15 minutes remaining, turning the ball in after being found by a back-heel from Olsson.
Andrews further extended the lead five minutes from time when he drove home from the edge of the box after a cut-back from James Morrison.
Odemwingie completed his hat-trick three minutes later, ending a swift counter-attacking move, with Morrison again the provider.