Chelsea move fourth as Fulham fightback

A dramatic finish between Fulham and Arsenal sees another shock in English Premier League as Chelsea jump into top four.

    Rift? What rift! Fulham manager Martin Jol embraces Bobby Zamora after injury time winner [GALLO/GETTY] 

    There was another upset in the English Premier League on Monday as Fulham dramatically came from behind to defeat Arsenal 2-1 and prevent the Gunners from reclaiming their place in the top four.

    Bobby Zamora struck an injury-time winner as Fulham stunned 10-man Arsenal to derail the Gunners' recent Premier League resurgence and leave Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger fuming.

    "It was a massive missed opportunity," Wenger said.

    "The referee influenced the game in completely the wrong way in my opinion."

    Chelsea leapt ahead of Arsenal into fourth after a crucial 2-1 win at Wolves that relieved the pressure on Andre Villas-Boas, well for the next few days at least.

    In the game at Craven Cottage, Arsenal ran Fulham ragged in front of their home support. The Gunners dominated the first half and the game looked to be dead and buried after Laurent Koscielny's 21st minute opener.

    Results and Fixtures

    Monday January 2nd 

     Aston Villa 0-2 Swansea
     Blackburn 1-2 Stoke
     QPR 1-2 Norwich   
     Wolves 1-2 Chelsea 
     Fulham 2-1 Arsenal

    Tuesday January 3rd

     Tottenham v West Brom
     Wigan v Sunderland
     Man City v Liverpool

    But Arsenal paid the price for failing to capitalise on their domination after carving out a series of clear chances only to be denied by some superb keeping from David Stockdale. 

    Arsenal were perhaps unfortunate not to be given a penalty for a challenge on Gervinho in the box but Wenger's men lacked the clinical finish in front of goal. The arrival of legendary striker Thierry Henry cannot come too soon for a team who have relied on Robin van Persie to drag them out of trouble this season. 

    But he was unable to do so on this occasion as Fulham came out a different side in the second half putting Arsenal immediately on the back foot.

    Fulham's fightback was led by Bryan Ruiz, who had the first chance of the second half, forcing Wojciech Szczesny to save with a volley from the edge of the area.

    A grandstand finish came after Johan Djourou was sent off for a second bookable offence 12 minutes from time, a red card encouraging the Cottagers to swarm further forward in pursuit of an equaliser.

    Steve Sidwell headed home the leveller in the 85th-minute and Zamora, who this week was rumoured to be unhappy with manager Martin Jol, poignantly swept home the winning goal in the third minute of stoppage time to delight the delirious home fans. Jol greeting the striker with a celebratory hug after the final whistle.

    The defeat saw Wenger's men drop down to fifth after Chelsea scored a dramatic late win at Wolves with Frank Lampard striking an 89th-minute winner in a 2-1 victory.

    'Massive win' 

    A feisty encounter saw Chelsea take the lead through Ramires on 54 minutes, and Chelsea's players celebrated by racing over to embrace under-fire boss Andre Villas-Boas in a show of support for the Portuguese manager.

    However, Wolves looked to have grabbed a share of the points when Stephen Ward struck six minutes from time only for Lampard to rescue Chelsea at the death.

    "It's a massive win. Everyone knows we are having a tough time but the determination shone through and I think we deserved it," Lampard told the BBC.

    "The character showed as we battled through to the end and that is what the players are all about."

    Villas-Boas meanwhile refused to single out Lampard for praise.

      Frank Lampard saved the day for Chelsea with a late winner against Wolves [GALLO/GETTY] 

    "The players were magnificent today, no matter who scores," Villas-Boas said. 

    Daniel Sturridge and Didier Drogba were both notable absentees for Chelsea, who recalled Lampard, Fernando Torres and Jose Bosingwa following their weekend defeat by Aston Villa.

    However, Villa were unable to carry on where they left Chelsea against Swansea. 

    Paying the price for mistakes in each half the Midlands club went down 2-0 at home to the newly promoted side.

    Nathan Dyer scored after just four minutes at Villa Park and fellow midfielder Wayne Routledge added his first goal for Swansea within two minutes of the restart.

    Norwich won a battle of the promoted sides as they rallied to beat 10-man Queen's Park Rangers 2-1 at Loftus Road in a Premier League game marred by Joey Barton's sending off.

    QPR captain Barton opened the scoring for the home side with a shot from 12 meters out in the 11th minute but was then shown a red card for an apparent headbutt on Norwich midfielder Bradley Johnson.

    The visitors capitalised on their numerical advantage through Anthony Pilkington, who equalised with a long-range shot in the 42nd minute.

    A second-half strike by Wales international Steve Morison proved to be the winner for Norwich, leaving the home side winless in eight league matches.

    Peter Crouch scored twice in the first half to give Stoke a 2-1 victory at Blackburn and halt the host's momentum following a stunning win at Manchester United.

    Rovers began well and Christopher Samba headed against the bar before seeing a goal disallowed. But it was Stoke that took the lead in the 17th minute through Crouch, and the tall striker added a second on the stroke of halftime by finishing off a counterattack.

    Substitute David Goodwillie pulled one back with 21 minutes to go, but it was not enough to prevent a third successive home defeat for Blackburn, who shocked United 3-2 at Old Trafford on Saturday before league leaders Man City were rocked by Sunderland on Sunday.  

    SOURCE: Agencies and Al Jazeera


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