The reigning champions could have gone within two points of United if they had won at Loftus Road tonight but failed to do so and now sit four in arrears of their crosstown rivals who host Southampton tomorrow night.
Roberto Mancini’s men bossed the possession percentage stats column and had many more chances but could not breach Julio Cesar’s goal as a spirited R’s outfit made it four matches unbeaten, although they still remain three points behind in bottom spot.
Papiss Cisse and a wonderful Yohan Cabaye strike gave the Magpies a two-goal buffer just after the half-hour mark before Christian Benteke gave Villa hope with a penalty early in the second half.
But Alan Pardew’s side, who moved up to 15th, managed to see off the charge of Paul Lambert’s strugglers who dropped into the relegation zone after extending their winless streak to six league matches.
Ryan Shawcross and Peter Crouch had the Potters ahead by the 48th minute but James McArthur and Franco di Santo worked Wigan back into the contest, allowing them to move out of the drop zone and into 17th, with Stoke staying mid-table.
And in Tuesday night’s fourth and final fixture, Sunderland and Swansea City played out a 0-0 draw at the Stadium of Light. The Black Cats stayed put in 11th place as the Swans, undefeated in seven league outings, moved up to eighth.
Tomorrow night sees Arsenal host Liverpool, United at home to the Saints, Everton take on West Bromwich Albion, Tottenham head to Norwich City, Chelsea away at Reading and Fulham and West Ham United meet in a London derby.
2012/13 Barclays Premier League season scores