Chelsea beat Fulham 3-1 to open a four-point lead at the top of the Premier League on Saturday while Newcastle United’s 4-1 win was marred by manager Alan Pardew’s dismissal for head-butting Hull City’s David Meyler.
Germany international Andre Schurrle scored a 16-minute second-half hat-trick at Craven Cottage before John Heitinga pulled one back for Fulham.
Second-placed Arsenal lost 1-0 at Stoke City, Jon Walters scoring a second-half penalty after Laurent Koscielny handled.
Chelsea have 63 points from 28 matches followed by Arsenal on 59 and Manchester City who have 57 points and two games in hand on the top two.
While Schurrle grabbed the headlines for the right reasons, Pardew will make them for the wrong ones after being sent from the dugout for head-butting Meyler who tried to move him out of the way to take a quick throw.
Midfielder Meyler was handed a yellow card for the incident.
Pardew was quick to express his regret in the wake of the extraordinary flashpoint.
Referee Kevin Friend certainly viewed it as a serious incident and sent Pardew to the stands, with the FA sure to take a close look at the altercation in the coming days.
Pardew told Sky Sports News afterwards: “It was a heat of the moment thing – I massively regret it.”
Pardew, who has had touchline altercations with Paolo di Canio, Mauricio Pochettino and Maneul Pellegrini in the last year, continued: “I think I’m going to sit down now because that’s two or three incidents I’ve been involved in. I think I’m going to sit now.
“I didn’t meant to do anything aggressive but I moved my head forward and that’s enough.
“It’s a shame because it took the gloss off a fantastic performance from us. That’s really upsetting.”
The other afternoon kick-off ended in a 1-0 win for Everton over West Ham United.