Arsenal have surged to the top of the English football Premier League with Samir Nasri scoring twice in their 2-1 win over Fulham as Chelsea's dire run continued with a 1-1 home draw against Everton.
Arsenal have 32 points with Chelsea, who have taken just five points from their last six league games, third on 30, one behind Manchester United whose game at Blackpool was frozen off.
Manchester City are fourth on 29 after they ended Bolton Wanderers' good run with a 1-nil Eastlands victory courtesy of an early Carlos Tevez goal.
Fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur lost ground when they could only draw 1-all at Birmingham City while Blackburn Rovers, thrashed 7-1 by Manchester United last week, bounced back impressively by beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-nil.... Ryan Nelson scoring one of their goals.
Arsenal, whose players and staff all donated their day's wages to charity, were all over Fulham in the first half-hour but had only a cool finish by Nasri to show for it.
Chelsea had John Terry and Michael Essien back from their injury absences to stiffen both their spine and their resolve but, as so often in recent weeks, they looked anything but champions and ended up hanging on desperately.
Chelsea, who hit the bar early through Terry, were on top but struggling with their final pass until Everton captain Phil Neville provided one for them with a badly under-hit backpass three minutes before halftime.
Striker Nicolas Anelka was onto it in a flash only to be brought down by goalkeeper Tim Howard, with Didier Drogba scoring the penalty.
Everton, who have been suffering their own poor run in recent weeks culminating in a 4-1 home defeat by West Bromwich Albion last week, refused to buckle and took the game to the hosts in he second half.
Chelsea were booed off by their own fans and now face a potentially decisive month as they play Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Arsenal.
In the days other result Wigan and Stoke drew 2-all.