|Villa's Ashley Young is brought down by Wes Brown for a penalty in the 72nd minute [GALLO/GETTY]
Manchester United snatched a 2-2 draw at Aston Villa after Nemanja Vidic preserved United's unbeaten start to the English Premier League season with a late equaliser on Saturday.
Vidic's 85th-minute header secured the draw, four minutes after substitute Federico Macheda's powerful strike started the fightback for the 18-time champions.
United had also conceded twice in four minutes, with Ashley Young scoring from the penalty spot and Marc Albrighton netting from close range in the 76th with just 14 minutes to play.
Spurs had no such problems against Blackburn, coasting to a 4-2 victory that puts them three points behind fourth-place Manchester City, who slumped to their second successive 0-0 draw at home to Birmingham. Liverpool lost 2-0 away at Stoke.
Bolton are a place below City, with Stuart Holden's first league goal clinching a 3-2 win at Wolverhampton.
Wolves are only being kept off the bottom by West Ham, who were held to a 0-0 draw by Blackpool. Newcastle's home match with Fulham also finished 0-0, while Wigan beat West Bromwich 1-0.
Narrowly avoiding defeat, United remain second, three points behind Chelsea having played one more match. The champions can stretch their lead to six points if they beat Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on Sunday while Arsenal can go above United if they win at Everton on the same day.
After a poor first half devoid of any real entertainment, a youthful Villa side went ahead when Young fired in a penalty in the 72nd minute after being fouled by Wes Brown.
Albrighton doubled their lead with 14 minutes left when he finished off a superb counter-attacking move, slamming the ball high into the net from six metres after a perfectly weighted cross from Stewart Downing.
Villa deserved to be ahead, with the goals coming just after James Collins headed against the bar and Gabriel Agbonlahor struck the post from close range.
United clawed their way back when Macheda powered the ball in from 20 metres after 81 minutes and they equalised four minutes later when Nani jinked his way into space before crossing for Vidic to score with a stooping header.
"We came back well but it was too late and we shouldn't have been in that position,'' United manager Alex Ferguson said.
"Our passing was poor. Normally we can control the match. We didn't control it.''
Tottenham had not won in the league for a month as they struggled to cope with campaigns at home and in the European Champions League.
But Bale headed in Rafael Van der Vaart's corner in the 16th and Roman Pavlyuchenko netted four minutes before the break after missing a penalty kick.
Peter Crouch added a third in the 68th - the England striker's first league goal since May - and Bale scored his second from Alan Hutton's cross in the 75th.
But conceding late efforts from David Dunn and Gael Givet denied Spurs the chance to move into fifth, which is occupied by Bolton.
It was another unconvincing performance for Man City, who have won just one of their last five league matches.
James Milner came closest to breaking the deadlock for City just 15 seconds into the second half but his shot was cleared off the line by Birmingham's Stephen Carr.
Liverpool's revival was brought to a halt by a 2-0 loss to Stoke, sending the Reds sliding down the table.
The 18-time champions had enjoyed a four-match unbeaten run in the league after their worst start to a season in more than 50 years.
But Ricardo Fuller opened the scoring for Stoke in the 56th minute and Kenwyne Jones completed a comprehensive victory in stoppage time.