Top three clubs drop valuable points on a day of draws in the EPL; Arsenal beat West Ham 2-1
London: Leaders Chelsea and second-place Manchester City both succumbed to post-Christmas hangovers yesterday as they dropped points in the Premier League title race. Chelsea drew 1-1 at Southampton, presenting City with a chance to close to within a point of the summit, but the champions fluffed their lines by blowing a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 at home to second-bottom Burnley.
Chelsea's Belgian midfielder Eden Hazard (centre) reacts at full-time after their match against Southampton ended in a 1-1 draw at the St Mary's Stadium in Southampton yesterday. Pic/AFP.
The results preserved the status quo at the summit, where Chelsea lead City by three points ahead of the New Year’s Day programme.
Chelsea fell behind in the 17th minute at fourth-place Southampton when Dusan Tadic freed Sadio Mane, who coolly headed the ball away from John Terry before lobbing Thibaut Courtois.
Eden Hazard equalised in first-half injury time, scampering onto Cesc Fabregas’ pass down the left wing and cutting inside two defenders before firing home with his right foot. But despite sending on Willian, Didier Drogba and Loic Remy in the second half, Jose Mourinho’s side were unable to find a winner, two days on from their classy 2-0 win over West Ham United.
Southampton had to see out the closing stages with 10 men after Morgan Schneiderlin was sent off for two bookable offences, but they held on for a draw that left them three points below third-place Manchester United.
Man City choke
At the Etihad Stadium, David Silva put City ahead in the 23rd minute and Samir Nasri teed up Fernandinho to crash home a stunning second goal from the edge of the box 10 minutes later. But Burnley replied through George Boyd early in the second half, the Scottish forward tapping in a cross from Danny Ings, before Ashley Barnes slammed in an equaliser from 15 yards with nine minutes to play.
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney (right) and Radamel Falcao appear dejected following their team's 0-0 draw against Tottenham
United come undone
Manchester United had earlier squandered an opportunity to put pressure on the top two after being held to a frustrating 0-0 draw against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.
Louis van Gaal’s side created a string of chances, with Juan Mata hitting the woodwork and Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris producing a number of excellent saves, but had to settle for a point.
With United, Spurs and Southampton dropping points, Arsenal capitalised by leapfrogging West Ham into fifth place with a 2-1 victory at Upton Park. Santi Cazorla put Arsenal in front with a 41st-minute penalty and three minutes later Danny Welbeck prodded in a cross to make it 2-0.
Cheikhou Kouyate headed in for West Ham early in the second half, but Arsene Wenger’s side survived a late onslaught to record a win that took them level on points with Southampton.