London:Arsenal crashed to a 3-0 defeat at Manchester City, deepening the crisis enveloping the club after captain William Gallas was dropped for revealing infighting and criticising the squad's lack of determination.
The Gunners' fifth defeat of the Premier League season -- and second in a row -- derails their fading title ambitions, with Aston Villa taking fourth spot by holding third-place Manchester to a 0-0 draw. Pacesetters Chelsea and Liverpool also both drew 0-0, on a day none of the "Big Four" clubs could score.
Arsene Wenger's call to his young Arsenal stars to show their strength went unheeded, the team looking uneasy after Gallas' outburst in an Associated Press interview earlier in the week.
"We have a good attitude and a good spirit," Wenger said. "We are going through a difficult period because of the bad results, but I don't think there is anything deeper in the team."
Stephen Ireland put Man City ahead on the stroke of halftime. Gael Clichy and Mikael Silvestre collided as City striker Benjani Mwaruwari released Ireland to clip the ball over Manuel Almunia, Arsenal's captain for the afternoon.
Arsenal fell further behind in the 56th minute when Brazil forward Robinho lobbed Almunia to claim his ninth goal since joining in September.
Daniel Sturridge compounded a miserable afternoon for Wenger in the 90th minute by converting from the penalty spot after the 19-year-old striker had been fouled by Johan Djourou.
The defeat, which seemed to vindicate Gallas's comments that the Gunners are "not brave enough in battle," leaves them 10 points behind Chelsea and Liverpool.
But Wenger tried to put the best possible gloss on the defeat.
"We did fight very hard and gave absolutely everything," Wenger said. "I believe in this team and in this squad and we just have to not talk. We have to keep our belief, be united and work together."
Hull came from behind twice to draw 2-2 at Portsmouth, Bolton won 3-1 at Middlesbrough, and Stoke edged last-place West Bromwich Albion 1-0.
Not even the return of Fernando Torres to the Liverpool starting lineup for the first time since October 5 could inspire Rafa Benitez's side. A first-half header went wide and goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer stopped a shot from the Spain striker shortly after the break.
Robbie Keane was also denied by Schwarzer from eight meters.
"We have lost two points, at home you have to win almost every game," Benitez said. "It's a pity and a frustration that we couldn't win. We are really disappointed, but clearly we didn't play well in the first half. We didn't have enough energy and we weren't passing the ball properly."
Usually free-scoring, Chelsea was sluggish and frustrated by a stubborn Newcastle side.
Joe Cole did find the net for Chelsea after goalkeeper Shay Given parried a shot from Florent Malouda, but his effort was ruled offside.
Given saved first-half headers from midfielder Frank Lampard, while also denying league-leading scorer Nicolas Anelka.
The result was a triumph for interim Newcastle manager Joe Kinnear, brought in on a temporary basis after the departure of Kevin Keegan in September and whose contract has been extended for another month.
Man United's 14-match winning streak against Villa ended on Saturday, but Villa manager Martin O'Neill was angered when referee Chris Foy didn't award a penalty after Gabriel Agbonlahor was pulled back by Nemanja Vidic.
The eight points separating the Red Devils from the leaders isn't troubling the defending champions' manager, Alex Ferguson, since they have a game in hand.
"We are capable of going on runs as everyone knows," Ferguson said. "If we got to within two points or three points by New Year's Day, it would give us a great chance."
Mamady Sidibe's 84th-minute header for Stoke condemned West Brom to a third straight defeat to remain last in the standings.
Johan Elmander, Bolton's record signing, scored his first goal since the opening day of the season in the 78th. Two minutes earlier, Stewart Downing pulled one back for Boro after Gretar Steinsson and Matt Taylor had put Bolton 2-0 up in the first 10 minutes.
Dean Windass hopes he gets the credit for Hull's equaliser in the 86th to make the 39-year-old striker the Premier League's second oldest scorer. Pompey defender Noe Pamarot appeared to get the final touch when Windass headed a corner from Stelios Giannakopoulos.
Peter Crouch had put Portsmouth ahead in the 20th, but Michael Turner equalised in the 54th. Glen Johnson restored Pompey's lead with a 25-meter strike nine minutes later.