Juan Mata grabbed a stoppage-time winner for Chelsea as Wigan were denied the chance to move out of the bottom three.
It was goalless at the interval, Maynor Figueroa clearing Didier Drogba’s header off the line after Ali Al Habsi saved from Juan Mata. The Oman international also tipped over Drogba’s bullet header.
Chelsea took a controversial lead when Raul Meireles crossed and Branislav Ivanovic, suspiciously offside, sidefooted the ball home. Mohamed Diame equalised with a powerful left-foot drive from 20 yards but Mata was on hand after Fernando Torres’ superb volley came back off a post, meaning Wigan remain 19th. Their fellow strugglers fared no better, though, with defeats for Blackburn, Bolton and bottom club Wolves. Clint Dempsey scored twice as Fulham ended Bolton’s recent revival at the Reebok Stadium.
The American hit a superb 30-yard free-kick and headed a second on the stroke of half-time before John Arne Riise crossed for Mahamadou Diarra to make it 3-0.
Blackburn lost by the same scoreline at West Brom, falling behind before half-time as full-back Martin Olsson sliced the ball into his own goal when attempting a clearance. Former Celtic striker Marc-Antoine Fortune made it 2-0 and Liam Ridgewell headed home Graham Dorrans’ free-kick.
Michael Knightly put Wolves ahead at Stoke but Robert Huth equalised with eight minutes of the first half remaining. Peter Crouch met Jermaine Pennant’s free-kick with a header in the 61st minute that beat Wayne Hennessey.
Nikica Jelavic scored twice as Everton also shared the spoils at Norwich. The Croat back-heeled home his third goal in four matches in the 22nd minute but Jonny Howson popped up six minutes from the break to convert Wes Hoolahan’s cross. Jelavic’s second was tinged with controversy as the ball became trapped beneath Steven Pienaar and, as Norwich stood off, the South African crossed for the former Rangers striker to finish.
But the Canaries equalised once more when Aaron Wilbraham’s shot was saved but he turned the rebound into the path of Grant Holt, who calmly side-footed home.
In the early kick-off, Tottenham failed to put pressure on their rivals for a Champions League place as they drew 0-0 at Sunderland.
It was enough to nudge Spurs at least temporarily up to third, but it was a frustrating afternoon for Harry Redknapp with Gareth Bale, Emmanuel Adebayor and Rafael van der Vaart all missing chances.