Newcastle United closed in on the top four of the English Premier Football League with a 2-0 victory at Blackburn Rovers, while Arsenal slipped to seventh after a goalless draw at Bolton Wanderers which stretched their winless run in the Premier League to four matches.
Newcastle are now just three points behind Chelsea.
Arsenal remain five points adrift of the top-four place that has been a virtual guarantee for the past decade under manager Arsene Wenger, whose Dutch striker Robin van Persie was twice denied by the woodwork.
Djibril Cisse needed less than 15 minutes to mark his return to the Premier League with a goal as he opened his account for Queen's Park Rangers in their 2-2 draw at Aston Villa.
Sunderland's form continued its upward curve since Martin O'Neill took over as manager with a 3-nil home victory over Norwich City that lifted them to eighth.
Former Fulham coach Roy Hodgson returned to Craven Cottage where his West Bromwich Albion side eked out a 1-1 draw.
The day before, champions Manchester United moved level at the top of the table with a 2-0 victory over Stoke City when leaders Manchester City suffered a 1-0 defeat at Everton.