Sir Alex Ferguson's men had temporarily gone 18 points clear at the top after Titus Bramble's 27th-minute own goal gave United a 1-0 win over sinking Sunderland in the lunchtime kick-off at the Stadium of Light.
Manchester City kept up their increasingly futile chase of city rivals United with a 4-0 cruise over Newcastle at the Etihad Stadium.
Carlos Tevez and David Villa gave Roberto Mancini's men the first-half advantage before Vincent Kompany and an own goal from James Perch completed their easy win.
Roberto Martinez's Wigan moved out of the relegation zone thanks to a potentially priceless late strike from Aruna Kone to beat Norwich 1-0 at the DW Stadium.
Wigan had laboured for much of the game but Kone fired his 10th goal of the season with nine minutes left to give his side a huge boost in their battle to avoid the drop.