Own goal puts Chelsea five clear

Two-minute turnaround in West London derby sees Chelsea beat Fulham as City beat Wolves.

    Schwarzer's save hits Smalling en route to the back of the net [AFP]

    Chelsea scored two goals in two minutes to come from a goal behind to beat Fulham 2-1 and regain their five-point lead in the English Premier League.

    Fulham had looked to be on their way to an upset in the West London derby at Stamford Bridge after Zoltan Gera had put them in front in the first half on Monday.

    But Didier Drogba powered in a header from a Branislav Ivanovic cross in the 73rd minute before debutant Chris Smalling deflected a Mark Schwarzer save into his own net with 75 on the clock.

    It gave Carlo Ancelotti's title challengers only their second win in six games.

    Results & fixtures

    Monday December 28

     Tottenham 2-0 West Ham
     Blackburn 2-2 Sunderland
     Chelsea 2-1 Fulham
     Everton 2-0 Burnley
     Stoke 0-1 Birmingham
     Wolves 0-3 Man City

    Tuesday December 29

     Aston Villa v Liverpool
     Bolton v Hull City

    Wednesday December 30

     Portsmouth v Arsenal
     Man Utd v Wigan

    Manchester United, who beat Hull 3-1 on Sunday, can reduce the gap back to two points with victory at home to Wigan Athletic on Wednesday.

    In the hunt

    Tottenham Hotspur stayed in the hunt for a top-four finish as they beat West Ham United with goals from Luca Modric and league joint top-scorer Jermain Defoe.

    Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini praised his team for a "fantastic performance" as they brushed aside Wolverhampton Wanderers with a convincing 3-0 win in the late match.

    Although City stayed sixth in the standings they moved level on points with Aston Villa and gave Mancini a perfect first Christmas as the new manager with a second win in three days following Saturday's 2-0 win over Stoke City.

    "To play like that just two days after beating Stoke makes me very happy because we played very well. We suffered a bit during the game but I am very happy for the players," Mancini told Sky Sports at Molineux.

    "In Italy it is impossible to play two games in three days, but this is England and this was a fantastic performance."

    Wales forward Craig Bellamy, who has been linked with a move away from the club following the controversial departure of Hughes, gave an inspired performance as two goals from Carlos Tevez and one from Javier Garrido gave City their third successive league win.

    Dream run

    Everton moved up to 11th after James Vaughan and Steven Pienaar gave them a late 2-0 win over 10-man Burnley while Birmingham's dream run continued with a 1-0 victory at Stoke City.

    Cameron Jerome finished from close range in the 50th minute as keeper Joe Hart kept Stoke out with some stunning saves.

    It was the promoted Blues' 11th unbeaten game in a row and moved them up to seventh, level on 32 points with Manchester City who play Wolverhampton Wanderers in the late kick-off.

    Sunderland continued their habit of throwing away winning positions with a 2-2 draw at Blackburn Rovers.

    Darren Bent opened the scoring for the visitors before Morten Gamst Pedersen jinked through to power home a leveller off the post.

    Bent then beat two defenders to put Sunderland 2-1 up but El Hadji-Diouf secured a point for Rovers, who could have won it in the last two minutes in a crazy goalmouth scramble.

    Aston Villa face Liverpool and Bolton play Hull on Tuesday while Portsmouth host Arsenal in the other match on Wednesday.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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