Chelsea held at Newcastle

Champions fail to recapture lead in the English Premier League as Manchester United stay top.

    Jose Bosingwa and his Chelsea team mates look downcast after conceding the opening goal [GALLO/GETTY]

    Chelsea's English Premier League title defence continued to falter after a 1-1 draw at Newcastle United on Sunday saw them miss the opportunity to return to the top of the standings.

    The result at a chilly St James’ Park left Chelsea ahead of London rivals Arsenal on goal difference, but tied at second place and two points behind leaders Manchester United.

    United, who hammered Blackburn Rovers 7-1 on Saturday with five goals by Dimitar Berbatov, remain top on 31 points with Chelsea and Arsenal, 4-2 winners at Aston Villa, both on 29.

    Manchester City are fourth on 26 after being held to a 1-1 draw at Stoke City.

    In the late game Aaron Lennon scored in stoppage time to complete a 2-1 comeback win over Liverpool in an action-packed encounter at White Hart Lane.

    Falling behind

    Chelsea have lost three of their last four league games, and fell behind again when England striker Andy Carroll took advantage of a misplaced backpass by Alex. Salomon Kalou dragged the Blues level on the stroke of half-time.

    "It was difficult at the beginning because we had a mistake but we had a good reaction," Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti told Sky Sports.

    The Italian, whose own position has been called into question by a run of results that has now seen the Londoners win just one of their last five league matches, added: "I think the performance was good and we were unlucky.

    "But in four games we've scored just one goal and that's not enough.

    "We've lost the top (position) in the table and we have to run (chase) now, we have to improve and do better."

    Early gift

    EPL results

    Saturday November 27

     Aston Villa 2-4 Arsenal
     Bolton 2-2 Blackpool
     Everton 1-4 West Brom
     Fulham 1-1 Birmingham
     Man Utd 7-1 Blackburn
     Stoke 1-1 Man City
     West Ham 3-1 Wigan
     Wolves 3-2 Sunderland

    Sunday November 28

     Newcastle 1-1 Chelsea
     Tottenham 2-1 Liverpool

    Newcastle were rewarded with a gift opener when Alex's ill-judged backpass rolled beyond Petr Cech and Carroll nipped in to tuck the ball into an empty net.

    Newcastle pushed on well for the next 20 minutes but Chelsea forced their way back into the game and levelled at the end of the first half when a lovely flick by Florent Malouda sent Kalou through. His shot was deflected past the keeper by defender Danny Simpson.

    Newcastle came close to restoring the lead after an hour when, with Cech stranded, Wayne Routledge lashed in a shot that Ashley Cole superbly headed off the line.

    Chelsea were the more dominant side but struggled to create much more than half-chances.

    Drogba had the ball in the net after 77 minutes but the whistle had already sounded for handball while Kalou somehow missed from two yards out moments later and Daniel Sturridge dragged a shot wide five minutes from time.

    Spurs triumphant

    Liverpool looked lively from the start with Maxi Rodriguez twice going close from long range.

    Their persistence paid off after 42 minutes when defender Martin Skrtel headed a Raul Meireles free kick into the back of team mate David Ngog and reacted sharply to bang in the loose ball.

    Rodriguez and Fernando Torres, twice, both took too long to unleash shots either side of half time when Liverpool should have made the game safe and Spurs took advantage of their escape.

    Meireles headed a Gareth Bale shot off the line but Ngog then inexplicably jumped with his hands above his head when in a wall defending a Bale free kick to concede a penalty.

    However, Defoe dragged his spot kick wide, Spurs's fourth miss in nine penalties this season.

    Tottenham did level five minutes later, though, when Skrtel turned a low Luka Modric cross into his own goal following a driving run by the Croatia midfielder.

    They took all three points when Lennon ran on to a Crouch flick two minutes into stoppage time and neatly tucked in the winner.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Life after death row: The pastor praying for Nigeria's prisoners

    The Nigerian pastor adapting to life after death row

    Clinton Kanu spent 27 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, but life on the outside feels far from free.

    What it means to love a dead child

    What it means to love a dead child

    You must forget all you thought you knew about grief when the landscape of your life has been demolished.

    'Butchered': The Kenyan FGM clinic serving Europeans

    'Butchered': The Kenyan FGM clinic serving Europeans

    Kenya banned FGM in 2011, but Europeans still bring their daughters to underground clinics there to be cut.