Man Utd joint top with Chelsea as Birmingham rise to sixth and Villa go third in EPL.
|Chelsea stay three points clear of rivals United who beat Wolves on Tuesday [GALLO/GETTY]|
Frank Lampard scored a late penalty to give Chelsea a 2-1 win over last-place Portsmouth that restored their three-point lead at the top of the English Premier League.
Chelsea looked to be heading for a fifth game without a win until defender Mark Wilson was penalised for a foul on Branislav Ivanovic and Lampard hit the resulting penalty past goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
Chelsea have 40 points to defending champion Manchester United’s 37, and eight more than third-place Arsenal, who drew 1-1 at Burnley.
Niko Kranjcar scored twice to help fifth-place Tottenham beat Manchester City 3-0 and hand their rivals just a second league defeat, while Liverpool rose to sixth with a 2-1 win over Wigan.
Chelsea lost their perfect home record at the weekend when they drew 3-3 with Everton and their fans were agitated again after on-loan striker Frederic Piquionne equalised for Portsmouth following a free kick that rebounded off the defensive wall.
But Lampard stepped up to score his sixth penalty of the season and prevent a repeat of the jeers that followed the team off the Stamford Bridge pitch at the weekend.
“It was very hard,” Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti said.
“After their goal, we had some difficulties and we lost our composure.
“We didn’t have confidence to win the game because we did not win the last four games.
“It was very important to return to wins. We did a good job; not a beautiful job.”
Chelsea had led through a 23rd-minute goal by Nicolas Anelka but Piquionne volleyed his fifth goal of the season when Chelsea failed to clear early in the second half.
Arsenal looked on course for a third straight Premier League win when Cesc Fabregas scored in the seventh minute at Burnley, but Graham Alexander equalised with a 28th-minute penalty awarded for Thomas Vermaelen’s foul on Andre Bikey.
Tuesday December 15
Birmingham 2-1 Blackburn Bolton 3-1 West Ham
Wednesday December 16
Burnley 1-1 Arsenal
Tottenham rallied from their shock loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers at the weekend to become just the second team after Manchester United to beat City this season.
Kranjcar and winger Aaron Lennon starred for Tottenham at White Hart Lane, but England striker Peter Crouch was instrumental in Spurs’ first two goals.
His header was blocked and rebounded for Kranjcar to score the 37th-minute opener and he flicked on a long punt by goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes in the 54th for Jermain Defoe to tap in from close range for his 17th goal of the season.
Kranjcar then beat two defenders and slipped the ball under goalkeeper Shay Given to complete the scoring in injury time.
Spurs rose to 30 points, two fewer than Arsenal and fourth-placed Aston Villa.
Liverpool are three points behind Tottenham after David Ngog and Fernando Torres scored against Wigan.