London: Manchester City's Premier League title defence fell apart at the seams in a 1-3 defeat at Southampton on Saturday when goalkeeper Joe Hart committed a howler and Gareth Barry scored a bizarre own goal.
Manchester United can increase their lead over City at the top to 12 points with 12 games left if they win at home to Everton on Sunday after coach Mauricio Pochettino sealed his first win for 15th-placed Southampton.
The unstoppable Gareth Bale scored twice in Tottenham Hotspur's 2-1 victory over Newcastle United on Saturday while rivals Chelsea and Arsenal also won to add spice to the race for the Champions League spots.
Chelsea stayed third in the standings, a point ahead of Spu-rs, after a 4-1 home success over third-bottom Wigan Athletic while 10-man Arsenal lost Jack Wilshere to injury but still beat Sunderland 1-0 away thanks to Santi Cazorla's strike. Arsenal leapfrogged Everton into fifth.
Queens Park Rangers suffered a big blow in a 4-1 defeat at Swansea City but fourth-bottom Reading failed to increase the six-point gap with a 2-1 loss at Stoke City. Mid-table Norwich City and Fulham managed a goalless stalemate.
Spurs' Wales midfielder Bale netted his fourth and fifth goals in four games for club and country to again almost single-handedly inspire the north Londoners in the fourth and final Champions League qualifying spot.
"Newcastle were on a good run of form, so it was always going to be a hard game," Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas said. "We stepped it up in the second half and showed team spirit to get three points. Both sides had chances. We showed more determination in the second half and took control."
Bale struck first with a dipping free-kick after five minutes with James Perch failing to jump in the visitors' wall before Lewis Holtby wasted three chances to increase the lead.
Newcastle's French forward Yoan Gouffran then grabbed his first Premier League goal since signing last month when his effort was deflected in midway through the first half but he later needed oxygen for a shin injury and was substituted.