- Manchester City stay five points clear after Saturday's 12th round of EPL matches
- City end third-placed Newcastle's unbeaten start with a 3-1 home victory
- Second-placed Manchester United stay in touch with a 1-0 win at Swansea
- Robin van Persie's double against Norwich puts Arsenal in sixth place
Manchester City may have announced losses of more than $300 million for last season, but the English club's massive investment in players is paying off on the pitch.
Roberto Mancini's men remained five points clear at the top of the Premier League on Saturday after ending the unbeaten run of third-placed Newcastle with a 3-1 home victory.
That briefly put City eight points clear, but second-placed defending champions Manchester United stayed in touch with a 1-0 win at Swansea in the late kickoff, halting the Welsh side's unbeaten home record.
While City's record deficit casts doubt over the club's ability to adhere to UEFA's financial fairplay rules, Saturday's win -- the 11th in 12 rounds -- was a timely tune-up for the midweek trip to Italy.
Mario Balotelli coolly sidefooted in a 41st-minute penalty after Ryan Taylor handled the ball, then the Newcastle fullback's error allowed City defender Micah Richards to double the lead before halftime.
Sergio Aguero came off the bench to net a 72nd-minute penalty after Richards was fouled by Hatem Ben Arfa, having also scored for Argentina in Tuesday's World Cup qualifying win against Colombia.
Dan Gosling scored a late consolation for the Magpies, who will lose third place on goal difference if Chelsea win at home to seventh-placed Liverpool on Sunday.
Tottenham, in fifth with two games in hand, can also move onto 25 points with victory against visiting Aston Villa on Monday.
City's focus is now Tuesday's Champions League trip to Napoli, which will have a big bearing on the club's hopes of progressing to the knockout stage of Europe's top competition.
"The feeling is good for Napoli. The team has improved a lot in the Champions League," Mancini said. "But I know what we will find in Naples, they are playing very well at home.
"If we want to win there, then we will have to play better than this afternoon."
Manchester United will also need to improve at home to Portuguese side Benfica on Tuesday after battling to beat promoted Swansea, with striker Javier Hernandez scoring a close-range winner in the 11th minute after a low cross by veteran Ryan Giggs.
"They have a great home record so we had to make sure we defended well, and I think we did that," manager Alex Ferguson said.
"We maybe should have done better with the chances we did get on the counter-attack and near the end we could have had a couple of chances, but it was a good result."
Arsenal moved up to sixth, also on 22 points but having played two more matches than London rivals Spurs, after winning 2-1 at promoted Norwich, who dropped to 11th.
Dutch striker Robin Van Persie continued his hot scoring run with a double that took him to a league-leading 13 this season after Steve Morison gave Norwich a 16th-minute advantage following poor defending by Germany international Per Mertesacker.
Queens Park Rangers moved up to ninth with a 3-2 win at Stoke, as striker Heidar Helguson scored twice before the home side were denied a late penalty chance to equalize when Joey Barton brought down Robert Huth but no foul was given.
West Brom claimed 10th place with a 2-1 win that left Bolton in the bottom three, while Everton moved up to 12th after beating visiting Wolverhampton by the same score.
Sunderland and Fulham joined Wolves on 11 points after a 0-0 draw, with all three clubs hovering hovering above the relegation zone.
The bottom two teams Wigan and Blackburn Rovers drew 3-3 in a fiery derby that ended with Yakubu leveling with a penalty nine minutes into time added on.
It was the Nigerian striker's second goal of the day for 10-man Blackburn, having netted the opener after only 68 seconds -- his 100th in the English league.
Rovers had David Dunn sent off for a second yellow card three minutes after the break, but Junior Hoilett made it 2-2 on the hour despite teammate Morten Gamst Pedersen appearing to pass the ball to himself from a corner.