Chelsea and Liverpool maintained their unbeaten starts to the season and kept the pressure on early pace-setters Arsenal when they both chalked up 2-0 away wins in the Premier League on Saturday.
Goals from Jose Bosingwa and Nicolas Anelka gave Chelsea a 2-0 win at Stoke City while Liverpool beat Everton 2-0 in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park with two goals from Fernando Torres.
Champions Manchester United also won 2-0, beating Bolton Wanderers at Old Trafford where a debatable penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo and a second goal from substitute Wayne Rooney gave United victory.
Arsenal were playing Hull City later on Saturday and will return to the top of the table with a victory.
After the completion of the early matches, Chelsea were top with 14 points from six matches, the same number of points as Liverpool but with a better goal difference. Aston Villa, who beat Sunderland 2-1, were third with 13 points and Arsenal fourth with 12.
The most impressive performance came at Goodison where Spain striker Torres recovered his scoring form with two goals in three minutes as Liverpool made it 10 matches unbeaten in all competitions since the start of the season.
Everton, who have now lost all three of their opening home league games, did not trouble Liverpool keeper Jose Reina with a meaningful shot all match and their miserable afternoon was compounded when Tim Cahill was sent off 10 minutes from time.
Manchester United, who started the day in 15th place, climbed up the table with their win over Bolton.
United made the breakthrough after 60 minutes when referee Rob Styles awarded them a penalty even though no United player had appealed for it. Ronaldo fell to the floor after what appeared to be a fair tackle by Jlloyd Samuel and looked astonished when the referee pointed to the spot.
He made no mistake from the ensuing penalty which put United on their way to only their second league win of the season.
At the other end of the table, Newcastle United's troubles continued when they lost for the fifth straight game, beaten 2-1 at St James' Park by Blackburn Rovers.
Playing under caretaker manager Chris Hughton and watched by newly-appointed interim manager Joe Kinnear, United trailed to first-half goals scored by Chris Samba and Roque Santa Cruz before Michael Owen pulled one back from the penalty spot early in the second half.
Despite a spirited performance Newcastle did not look like scoring again and their defeat left them one place off the bottom. They will go bottom if Tottenham Hotspur win at Portsmouth on Sunday.
West Ham United won a lively match against Fulham 2-1 at Craven Cottage where most of the drama came just before halftime.
Carlton Cole and Matthew Etherington scored for the Hammers just before the break before Fulham had Andy Johnson sent off for a second yellow card in first-half stoppage time.
Danny Murphy pulled one back for Fulham from a penalty after 59 minutes when Lucas Neill handled but could not stop Fulham going down to a third successive defeat.