Chelsea ended a four-match winless streak when Frank Lampard struck late to secure a 2-1 Premier League victory at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday which lifted them back into fourth place, at least until Arsenal meet Fulham later.
All four afternoon kickoffs ended in victories for the away team with Swansea City winning 2-0 at Aston Villa, Stoke City beating Blackburn Rovers 2-1 and Norwich City prevailing 2-1 at Queens Park Rangers who had Joey Barton sent off after he gave them an early lead. Steve Morison scored Norwich's late winner.
Chelsea, who drew three successive matches before losing 3-1 at home to Aston Villa on Saturday, went ahead through Ramires who scored after Wolves failed to clear a corner after 54 minutes. Stephen Ward equalised in the 84th before Lampard struck the winner a minute from time.
It's a massive win, Lampard told the BBC. Everyone knows we are having a tough time but the determination shone through and I think we deserved it.
The character showed as we battled through to the end and that is what the players are all about. We have resilience because we have players who have been here and won medals. I hate looking at the table and seeing us not challenging for the top spot and that is where we have to get back to.
Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas told Sky Sports: To win today has a special flavour due to the tremendous physical effort that you are put through when you play 48 hours after (the last match).
But it is an excellent sign for the team because it is in these moments of difficulty that you have to dig deep and get a good result and we did exactly that and I am very proud.
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy said he was livid his side conceded so late to lose.
It was rubbish that we conceded such a late goal. I know what went wrong, I am really livid that we have conceded a goal having got back into the game we should not have given that goal away.
We should be talking about three points against a good Chelsea side and instead I am stood here sick that we have lost it.
Swansea won away for the first time since being promoted with Nathan Dyer scoring after four minutes at Villa Park and Wayne Routledge adding the second two minutes into the second half, his first goal in the Premier League since he first played in the top division eight years ago.
Blackburn failed to capitalise on their stunning 3-2 win at Manchester United on Saturday when they were beaten at home by Stoke with Peter Crouch scoring the 100th and 101st league goals of his career.
Blackburn fans, who have been unrelenting in their criticism of manager Steve Kean until Saturday's win, again booed him at the end of their eighth home league defeat from 10 matches this season.
Kean told the BBC: We're kicking ourselves because we feel it is a big missed opportunity. The second goal was a tough one - we should have dealt with it better.
In the second half there was wave after wave of attack from us and I thought we deserved something.
Blackburn remain deep in trouble in 19th with 14 points from 20 matches, one point above bottom side Bolton Wanderers and one point below Wigan Athletic who are also in the drop zone.
QPR meanwhile started well but lost to fellow promoted team Norwich who came back strongly after Barton put the home side ahead with a well-taken 11th minute goal.
Barton was then dismissed for an off the ball incident with Bradley Johnson after 34 minutes before Anthony Pilkington equalised for the visitors just before the break.
Morison scored the winner seven minutes from time leaving QPR 17th, one place above the relegation zone and without a win from their last eight games.
Barton said on Twitter: Linesman definitely never saw it, all he (had) seen was Johnson's reaction. My head doesn't move forward at all. Ridiculous decision, seen 25 replays.
QPR boss Neil Warnock told the BBC: The linesman saw him (Barton) headbutt Bradley Johnson. So they gave what they saw. He has guessed if I'm honest.
Who says cheats don't prosper? Bradley has conned him. We feel we have run over a few black cats. I can't say how proud I am of them (the players).
The heads are together but I don't think Joey would have gone down. I'm not surprised Bradley has gone down. It changed the game completely.
But Norwich boss Paul Lambert said: I think we deserved it today. We had a lot of the ball and the triple substitution (after 66 minutes) and going to the back three helped us stretch the game and go at them.
Our record against QPR is very good, they are hard to play against at Loftus Road but we were excellent. I didn't see Joey Barton's red card, but sending offs can work for you and go against you at times.
None of the top three - Manchester City, Manchester United or Tottenham Hotspur - were in action in the Bank Holiday programme but Arsenal will dislodge Chelsea from the top four if they win at Fulham in a 1730 GMT kickoff.
(Reporting by Mike Collett, editing by Ken Ferris and Justin Palmer)