Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero struck late as Premier League champions Manchester City climbed within two points of table-topping Chelsea thanks to a patient 2-0 victory at a resolute Aston Villa.
Toure curled home a beautifully placed low shot in the 82nd minute before Aguero thundered in a second six minutes later after the visitors spurned a host of chances in what had been a dominant yet wasteful display.
City climbed to second with 14 points, one point ahead of third-placed Southampton and two behind Chelsea who host Arsenal in a London derby on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson scored as Liverpool registered their first league win since August by grinding out a hard-fought 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion at Anfield.
Papiss Cisse struck twice to ease the growing pressure on under-fire Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew in a 2-2 draw against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.
Sunderland beat Stoke City 3-1 for their first league win of the season, Hull City beat Crystal Palace 2-0 to condemn Neil Warnock to his first league defeat since returning to the south London club and Ross Wallace scored deep into stoppage time as Burnley grabbed a 2-2 draw against Leicester City.