Nevertheless, the pick of the games saw league leaders Manchester United stealing a march on their city rivals courtesy of an utter annihilation of struggling Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The red side of Manchester cemented their claims for a 20th league title winning 5-0 on the road for the third time this campaign.
Meanwhile, Wolves sit rock bottom of the table after yet another loss at Molineux. United dominated throughout and the sending off of Ronald Zubar just before the break left the relegation-threatened side with an insurmountable task.
However, the damage had been done long before the defender’s dismissal as the unlikely figure of Jonny Evans began the rout with his first for the club.
After the sending off the floodgates opened as the fit-again Antonio Valencia scored a wonderful second and Danny Welbeck put the result beyond doubt before half time.
The second half brought more of the same and an incessant United continued to apply pressure to the home side, and were rewarded with a Javier Hernández brace inside the space of five minutes, bringing an end to the scoring just after the hour mark.
Red Devils keeper David de Gea continued his recent resurgence and the Spaniard kept another clean sheet to bolster his confidence ahead of the all important run in.
Elsewhere, Wigan supporters were left disheartened once again as one of their former cult hero’s came back to haunt them on Saturday.
Paul Scharner salvaged two points for West Brom at the DW Stadium, and in the process prevented the Latics from moving out of the relegation zone.
Scharner, who previously spent four-and-a-half years at Wigan, scored in the 65th minute to cancel out James McArthur’s early strike. The result further highlighted Wigan’s lack of prolificacy in front of goal – an issue which has thwarted the club’s progress this season.
“It is really frustrating and I feel it is a real footballing injustice. It is impossible to explain how that performance did not end up with three points,” said Wigan boss Roberto Martinez.
The Latics are now just a point from safety at the bottom of the table, while West Brom remain in 12th and look set for a mid-table finish.
Swansea City maintained their impressive season under Brendan Rodgers with another away win, beating Fulham 3-0 at Craven Cottage.
On-loan Hoffenheim midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson scored twice and is certainly a contender for signing of the season. Joe Allen completed the scoring on what was another composed performance.
After the game Rodgers lavished praise on his side after their third successive win which lifts the promoted outfit into eighth place in the league.
“I felt that we could come here and get a result, but to play the way we did was very pleasing,” said the Swansea boss.
At St James’ Park, Papiss Cissé netted to help Newcastle United end their miserable run and secure their first win in five games.
The Senegalese striker struck in the 11th minute of the contest, leaving the Magpies two points behind fifth-placed Chelsea.
Newcastle remain an outside bet for a European place this year thanks to this victory, however with Chelsea newly resurgent under Roberto di Matteo, it just looks a bridge too far.
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