The tightest title race in Europe took another twist on Sunday as Liverpool lost the initiative in the Premier League with a costly home defeat by Chelsea but Atletico Madrid showed no sign of faltering at the top the table in Spain.
AS Roma stayed in touch with Italian leaders Juventus while in the Bundesliga Bayern Munich, long since crowned champions, warmed up for their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid with a 5-2 victory over Werder Bremen.
In France, Paris St Germain squandered the chance to wrap up the Ligue 1 title when they could only draw with lowly Sochaux.
Leaders Liverpool lost 2-0 at home to Chelsea and Manchester City won 2-0 at Crystal Palace to blow the fluctuating title race wide open once again.
Goals by Demba Ba and Willian added the gloss to an outstanding Chelsea defensive performance and ended Liverpool's 11-match winning streak, severely denting their hopes of a first league title for 24 years.
Edin Dzeko and Yaya Toure scored in the first half to seal third-placed City's victory at Palace and Manuel Pellegrini's team ended the weekend three points behind Liverpool with a game in hand and a better goal difference.
Chelsea, who played a weakened team at Anfield with this week's Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid in mind, are second, two points adrift of Liverpool with two games left in the season.
Manchester United crushed Norwich City 4-0 at Old Trafford to give caretaker manager Ryan Giggs the perfect start after taking the reins from David Moyes who was sacked on Tuesday.
Sunderland climbed out of the relegation zone, above Norwich, after a 4-0 thrashing of Cardiff City who look doomed.
Atletico Madrid stayed rock solid at the top after a 1-0 victory at Valencia - Raul Garcia's header just before halftime being enough to take them to 88 points, a new club record.
Barcelona, playing two days after the death of former coach Tito Vilanova, earned an emotional win at Villarreal where they came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 with Lionel Messi sealing the victory late on after two own goals had allowed Barca back into the match.
Barcelona are four points behind Atletico with three games left while Real Madrid, who beat Osasuna on Saturday, are six points behind with a game more to play than Atletico or Barca.
Athletic Bilbao strengthened their hold on fourth place with a 3-1 victory over Sevilla.
Veteran striker Claudio Pizarro scored