Manchester City drew a blank for the second time this week to lose vital ground in the title race with a 0-0 draw against Norwich City.
Manuel Pellegrini's previously free-scoring side – who last month reached 100 goals in all competitions faster than any team in the Premier League era - have run into unforeseen problems in their last two outings, losing the Premier League's top spot to Chelsea in the process.
A 1-0 loss at home to Jose Mourinho's side on Monday was compounded by another lacklustre display at Carrow Road – the absence of Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho due to a muscle strain once again keenly felt.
Alvaro Negredo headed a first-half corner against the crossbar but clear chances were in short supply as Norwich claimed an unexpected point in their fight for top-flight survival.
A win would have taken the 2012 champions top following Arsenal's 5-1 thrashing at Anfield, but Chelsea are now in the driving seat after easing past Newcastle 3-0.
On-loan Fenerbahce defender Joseph Yobo made his Norwich debut as a thigh injury ruled out Ryan Bennett.
James Milner returned from a groin complaint to bolster the visitors' injury-hit midfield, while Stevan Jovetic got the nod over Edin Dzeko to make his second Premier League start of the season in attack.
A prone Yobo scrambled to safety as playmaker David Silva appeared poised to convert Gael Clichy's early cross for Pellegrin's men, but the recalled France full-back was caught out in the 16th minute.
Norwich winger burst Nathan Redmond burst into the box when Clichy failed to cut out Gary Hooper's pass but blazed high and wide.
Hooper had the ball in the net two minutes later but was lurking in an offside position after Joe Hart parried Leroy Fer's header from a Redmond corner.
Manchester City came close from a similar dead-ball situation in the 36th minute – Negredo heading onto the crossbar following a Martin Demichelis flick-on from Jesus Navas' delivery.
Negredo crashed a rasping long-ranger into the side netting and, by the time John Ruddy kept out a stinging 20-yard strike from Jovetic in the 43rd minute, Pellegrini's charges were showing signs of hitting their stride.
Their customary rhythm remained largely elusive as the second half got under way, but Norwich full-back Martin Olsson produced an excellent last-ditch challenge to thwart Navas.
Russell Martin then positioned himself well to stop Jovetic converting Milner's looping right-wing cross.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel arrived from the bench after 68 minutes in place of Hooper, who hobbled away from a robust Milner challenge, but Norwich had faded as an attacking force by that point, though their excellent organisation continued to confound the title hopefuls.
Dzeko, on for Jovetic, pulled a shot into the side netting at the end of another fruitless attack and Pellegrini was left to rue a golden opportunity missed, while Van Wolfswinkle and Anthony Pilkington were both agonisingly close to handing Norwich an unlikely triumph.
|Coach: C. Hughton|
for G. Hooper 68'
for A. Pilkington 90+3'
|Simeone praises Atletico´s precision in Copa Del Rey win|
|Fonte situation difficult for Southampton - Puel|
|´Some of the best football in the UK´ - Watford´s Mazzarri hails Bournemouth|
|Senegal 2 Zimbabwe 0: Cisse´s men charge into quarter-finals|
|Rivaldo backs Luis Enrique to deliver more Barca success|
|Atletico Madrid 3 Eibar 0: Routine win earns quarter-final lead|
|Jesus will make Premier League history - Rivaldo|
|Adebayor: Arsenal are just Ozil and Sanchez|
|Algeria 1 Tunisia 2: Favourites on brink of elimination|
|Bayern keen to seal Coman deal as Rummenigge cools Gnabry interest|
|Pochettino has done his homework on Jesus as Spurs look to march on|
|Scrap offside? Premier League managers give Van Basten´s plans a cool reception|
|Coman ready for Bayern comeback, confirms Ancelotti|
|Pochettino upbeat despite six weeks out for Vertonghen, Lamela still a mystery|
|Cerezo defiant over Griezmann amid talk of Manchester United agreement|
|Robinho named in Brazil squad for Chapecoense fundraiser|
|Davies and Lookman aren´t the big men of Everton, warns Koeman|
|Ivory Coast v DR Congo: Dussyer demands champions show true strength|
|Replacing Robben and Ribery not easy - Hitzfeld|
|Yeray back in Athletic training after successful cancer surgery|
|Karanka targeting more Boro deals after Bamford swoop|
|Cavani: I am the ultimate finisher|
|Morocco v Togo: El Ahmadi hungry for success|
|Ancelotti denies Verratti approach|
|A-League Review: Cahill double sees Melbourne City sink Mariners|
|Manchester United very happy with Shaw, insists agent|
|Mertesacker extends Arsenal deal|
|Boost for Arsenal as key quartet returns to training|
|Will Jesus save Manchester City´s title bid? Guardiola´s new striker in Opta numbers|
|Tevez mobbed after touching down in Shanghai|
|Payet exit not inevitable - Bilic|
|Wenger: Arsenal don´t need Payet|
|Jesus wants Manchester City titles|
|Orsolini arrives for Juventus medical|
|Rivaldo backs Coutinho to join Neymar at Barcelona|
|No danger of Messi leaving Barcelona, says father|
|Augusto: I convinced Oscar to come to China|
|Madrid-bound Maradona visits Napoli training|
|Sevilla in no rush over Sampaoli talks despite Barcelona links|
|Cafu: Resurgent Brazil can challenge world´s best|
|Klopp thrilled with Coutinho|
|Manchester United replace Real Madrid as world´s richest club|
|Madrid squad annoyed by defeats - Zidane wants more energy after latest loss|
|Casemiro rues more misery for Madrid against Celta|
|´Job done, let´s go home´ - Klopp happy to avoid extra time with narrow Plymouth win|
|FA Cup Review: Southampton leave it late to beat Norwich|
|Real Madrid 1 Celta Vigo 2: Aspas and Jonny extend Madrid winless run|
|Plymouth Argyle 0 Liverpool 1: Rare Lucas goal sees Klopp´s men through|
|Manchester City in La La Land as Schalke toil underground|
|Cameroon 2 Guinea-Bissau 1: Ngadeu-Ngadjui completes comeback to send Broos´ men top|
|Monaco confirm signing of Ajax teenager Antonucci|
|Manchester United´s interest in Griezmann is unsurprising - Simeone|
|Bamford ends spell in Chelsea wilderness with Boro return|
|Louis the great - Luis Enrique explains his and Barca´s debt to Van Gaal|
|Gabon 1 Burkina Faso 1: Spot-on Aubameyang makes his point|
|PSG send Ikone on loan to Montpellier|
|Senegal v Zimbabwe: Cisse wants to live up to favourites tag|
|Ghana´s Rahman leaves AFCON with knee injury|
|Algeria v Tunisia: Mahrez demands improvement in crucial Group B clash|
|Dortmund forward Dembele hits out at Bundesliga refereeing|
|Robben hopes Alonso stays at Bayern amid retirement rumours|
|Asian champions Jeonbuk banned from 2017 Champions League|
|Rakitic still an important player for Barcelona - Luis Enrique|
|Jesus will develop quicker at City - Emerson|
|Always take the weather with you - Spanish snow blights CSKA´s training camp|
|Messi never gave Coach interview, claims father|
|Gotze questions critics but admits to falling short of expecations|
|´Conte can have our title´ - Ranieri wants Chelsea to win the Premier League|
|Tottenham reject Premier League, Bundesliga offers for Wimmer|
|Liverpool sell Ilori to Reading|
|Potential victims in football abuse probe surpasses 500|
|Bonaventura signs new AC Milan contract|
|Messi: Ronaldo has achieved great things|
|Koscielny: Wenger has built men at Arsenal|
|Messi vows to stay at Barcelona ´for as long as they want me´|
|Cafu adamant Neymar will become world´s best|
|I´m just taking a sabbatical - Van Gaal denies he´s retired|
|Not even Gerrard won Premier League - Buttner says he´s not a United flop|
|Samper ignored Wenger as Barca midfielder rejected Arsenal|
|Pleased Pioli wants more from Inter|
|Evergrande boss Scolari dismisses Turan links|
|Klopp seeks legal advice over Matip|
|Marseille complete Sanson move|
|Inter 3 Bologna 2: Candreva prevents remarkable turnaround in Coppa Italia thriller|
|FA Cup Review: Non-league Lincoln stun Ipswich, Burnley and Palace through|
|Gabon v Burkina Faso: Aubameyang says hosts have learned from Guinea-Bissau setback|
|Mali 0 Egypt 0: El-Hadary makes history in stalemate|
|El-Hadary oldest AFCON player ever - 44-year-old Egypt goalkeeper makes history|
|Reus and Gotze on target but Bender injured in Dortmund win|
|Toure shunning lavish China interest to stay at City, says Seluk|
|Rahman´s AFCON in the balance, says Ghana boss Grant|
|Just 14 goals conceded and nine clean sheets - How Vertonghen blow could impact Tottenham|
|Ghana 1 Uganda 0: Andre Ayew hands Black Stars nervy victory|
|Swansea snap up Carroll and Olsson in double swoop|
|All is forgiven? - Costa trains with full Chelsea squad after reported Conte bust-up|
|I would throw myself off a bridge for Luis Enrique - Rakitic dismisses Barca rift rumours|
|Was Juventus´ new logo inspired by tennis star?|
|Smooth sailing for Liverpool in Plymouth? Klopp expects tough test|
|Demichelis re-joins Malaga until end of season|
|Cameroon v Guinea-Bissau: Broos urges new heroes to emerge|
|Boxing champ hits Carragher with Chinese Super League comeback prank|
|Zidane backs Navas and defends Benzema as Madrid aim to bounce back|
|Deportivo bring in Kakuta from Hebei after CSL rule changes|
|Matip could miss eight games without doing anything wrong - Klopp|
|United trigger Valencia´s contract extension|
|Ronaldo returns to Real Madrid´s Copa squad|
|FA fine Sagna for Instagram post|
|Nedved does not foresee more January business for Juventus|
|Rafinha injury blow for Barcelona|
|Villas-Boas fumes at CSL foreign player crackdown|
|Ibrahimovic invaluable to Manchester United youngsters - Rashford|
|Robben rejected China move|
|A-League review: Phoenix rise to the occasion to end Victory´s streak|
|Van Gaal slams English media over treatment at Manchester United|
|Mignolet: Liverpool in better position to win title than in 2013-14|
|Giroud wants Premier League title but understands China temptations|
|Tianjin forced to scrap moves for Costa, Benzema, Cavani and Falcao|
|My goal was better than Mkhitaryan´s - Giroud|
|Pochettino not interested in Argentina job|
|Kane: Tottenham can win Premier League|
|Corinthians dreaming of Drogba - Paulo Roberto|
|Coutinho calls for Liverpool focus|
|Chiellini compares Pogba to LeBron and Bolt|
|Maradona to become Napoli ambassador|
|Mihajlovic furious after Torino collapse|
|Icardi has offers from China - Wanda Nara|
|Pogba can cope with pressure - Ibrahimovic|
|´My half-time words will stay in the dressing room´ - Montella annoyed with AC Milan|