Manchester City and Manchester United, level on points at the top of the Premier League, suffered shock defeats to Sunderland and Blackburn respectively over New Year’s weekend.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s 70th birthday was spoiled as Rovers moved off the foot of the table with a 3-2 win at Old Trafford. Yakubu gave the visitors a surprise 2-0 lead, the first from the spot, but Dimitar Berbatov’s brace levelled proceedings midway through the second half. However, Grant Hanley headed a late winner.
Leaders City failed to take advantage on their rival’s slip-up the previous day as Ji Dong-won’s injury-time goal sealed a 1-0 victory at the Stadium of Light.
Third-placed Tottenham could not fully capitalise as they were held 1-1 at Swansea. Arsenal moved up to fourth with a 1-0 win at home to QPR while Cheslsea lost 3-1 at home to Aston Villa. Liverpool were level on points with Chelsea following a 3-1 defeat of Newcastle.
Everton won 1-0 at West Brom and the other games were drawn: Bottom side Bolton 1-1 with Wolves, Norwich 1-1 with Fulham and Stoke 2-2 with Wigan.
Harlequins extended their lead at the top of Rugby Union’s Premiership as they won 11-9 at Exeter and second-placed Saracens were held 15-15 at home to Gloucester.
Third-placed Northampton and Leicester were level on points following Saints’ 32-14 win at bottom side Newcastle and Tigers’ thrilling 28-23 victory at home to Sale. Bath thrashed London Irish 30-3 and Worcester won 6-0 at Wasps.