Emmerson Boyce scored a desperate last-minute own goal as Tottenham Hotspur snatched a 2-2 draw at Wigan Athletic on Saturday that prevented the home side from climbing out of the Premier League relegation zone.
A stunning goal from Callum McManaman had looked set to heave Wigan out of the bottom three, only for Boyce to inadvertently deflect the ball over the line from Tom Huddlestone's free-kick in the dying stages.
Boyce had earlier scored an 11th-minute equaliser, heading home from a corner after Gareth Bale had charged down Wigan goalkeeper Joel Robles's clearance to give the visitors an early lead.
McManaman then slammed a left-foot howitzer past Hugo Lloris in the 49th minute to put the FA Cup finalists ahead, only for Boyce's moment of misfortune to deny Wigan a potentially crucial victory.
The point did little for either side, with Spurs squandering an opportunity to move back into the Champions League qualifying places, while Wigan now trail fourth-bottom Villa by two points with four games to play.
"When you are at the bottom of the table, it seems you attract the ball to the back of your net sometimes, but those are the small margins that sometimes affect the results," said Wigan manager Roberto Martinez.
"But I couldn't be happier and prouder. We need to perform in the same manner. If we perform as we did today, then we will be OK."
Liverpool, in seventh position, recorded the biggest victory of the day in a 6-0 rout at struggling Newcastle United.
Doubles from Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson, a header by Daniel Agger and a Fabio Borini strike moments after he came on as a substitute led Liverpool to victory.
Newcastle also had defender Mathieu Debuchy sent off for a second yellow card in the 75th minute and their worried fans were in open rebellion by the end.
Stoke City appear destined for another season among the English elite after a 1-0 win at home to Norwich City sent Tony Pulis's side soaring up to 12th place in the table, eight points above the bottom three.
Charlie Adam scored from a Peter Crouch knock-down early in the second half to leave Norwich six points clear of the relegation zone in 14th place.
"The three points are vital because we have tough games coming up," said Stoke coach Pulis.
"Our first challenge is always to stay in the Premier League. Anything else is a bonus."
Everton improved their chances of European football next season with a 1-0 win at home to Fulham that left them three points behind fifth-place Spurs, albeit having played a game more.
South African midfielder Steven Pienaar scored the only goal of the game in the 16th minute at Goodison Park, sweeping the ball into the bottom-left corner from Seamus Coleman's cut-back.
Meanwhile, Marc-Antoine Fortune scored one goal and made another but was then sent off as West Bromwich Albion won 3-0 at Southampton, who ended the game with nine men.
"I'm unhappy for the goals we missed, as we could have scored more goals, but this has been our problem this season"
Man City's Roberto Mancini
The Frenchman forced the ball over the line from a corner in the sixth minute and then released Romelu Lukaku to add a second goal with 23 minutes remaining.
Shane Long added a late third but by that stage Fortune had been shown a straight red card for slapping Southampton's Gaston Ramirez.
The Uruguayan had angered Fortune by catching Long with an elbow and he was also dismissed for that offence, with team-mate Daniel Fox following him down the tunnel after he jumped in on Steven Reid.
Earlier, Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure scored a pair of fine goals as Manchester City began life as former champions by winning 2-1 at home to West Ham United.
City relinquished their league crown to Manchester United earlier in the week but their success over mid-table West Ham gave them an eight-point cushion in second place and took them closer to Champions League qualification.
Aguero opened the scoring with a well-worked effort after 28 minutes on a bright, sunny day at the Etihad Stadium, before Toure settled the game seven minutes from time with a crisp left-foot drive that flew into the top-left corner.
The only blemish on City's day came in injury time, when goalkeeper Joe Hart allowed a powerful Andy Carroll shot to squirm between his legs and over the line.
"I'm happy for this performance," said City manager Roberto Mancini.
"I'm unhappy for the goals we missed, as we could have scored more goals, but this has been our problem this season."