London - Chelsea beat Fulham 3-1 to open a four-point lead at the top of the Premier League while Newcastle United's 4-1 win was marred by manager Alan Pardew's dismissal for head-butting Hull City's David Meyler.
Germany international Andre Schuerrle scored a 16-minute second-half hat-trick at Craven Cottage before John Heitinga pulled one back for Fulham.
Second-placed Arsenal lost 1-0 at Stoke City, Jon Walters scoring a second-half penalty after Laurent Koscielny handled.
Chelsea have 63 points from 28 matches followed by Arsenal on 59 and Manchester City who have 57 points and two games in hand on the top two.
While Schuerrle grabbed the headlines for the right reasons, Pardew will make them for the wrong ones after being sent from the dugout for head-butting Meyler who tried to move him out of the way to take a quick throw.
Midfielder Meyler was handed a yellow card for the incident.
The other afternoon kickoff ended in a 1-0 win for Everton over West Ham United. Southampton are playing Liverpool in a 1730 GMT kickoff at St Mary's. – Reuters