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EPL: Man City join Arsenal at top, Chelsea slip again

Last updated on: December 13, 2010 10:42 IST

Drogba missed a stoppage-time penalty



Chelsea's poor run continued as Didier Drogba missed a stoppage-time penalty in an exciting but error-strewn 1-1 Premier League draw at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Roman Pavlyuchenko shot Spurs ahead after 15 minutes but Drogba, dropped to the bench after a series of flat displays, levelled after 70 minutes.

He had the chance to win the match at the death after Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, at fault for the equaliser, flattened Ramires only to make amends by saving the penalty.

The ailing champions have now taken only six points from the last 21 available.

Chelsea, on 31 points, are still only one behind leaders Arsenal and Manchester City and level with Manchester United, who host Arsenal on Monday night in one of two games in hand they have on the champions.

Image: Chelsea's Dider Drogba misses a penalty against Tottenham Hotspurs
Photographs: Reuters

'We deserved to win the game'

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"We deserved to win the game, especially in the second half, we dominated them in the second half and that's more like the Chelsea we all know," Chelsea captain John Terry told Sky Sports.

"Didier was brave enough to stand up and take it. You miss some you score some it was just one of those things. Playing like we did in the second half everything looked back to normal.

"The hunger and spirit and determination was much better today and that's what we want from a Chelsea side," he added.

Spurs are fifth on 27 with Bolton Wanderers up to sixth on 26 after they beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 earlier on Sunday.

Image: Chelsea's John Terry challenges Tottenham Hotspurs' Peter Crouch duing their EPL match

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Pavlyuchenko scores past Cech

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Spurs went ahead after 15 minutes when Jermain Defoe picked out Pavlyuchenko on the edge of the box with little obvious danger in the air.

However, the Russian's first touch took him clear of two defenders and he planted a low shot beyond Petr Cech.

Chelsea had more of the ball but their build-up was ponderous. Nicolas Anelka looked isolated up front and Gomes was never seriously tested in the opening half.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti, who was reported to have been given the personal backing of club owner Roman Abramovich in midweek, cut a frustrated figure on the touchline, shaking his head and half-heartedly waving his players forward.

At one point he was involved in a 40-metre argument with Terry as he urged his captain to hold a higher line.

Gomes was on his mettle early in the second, though, turning away a shot by halftime substitute Drogba and acrobatically tipping over after the ball skidded off the head of Wilson Palacios.

Image: Tottenham Hotspur's Roman Pavlyuchenko scores past Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

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Drogba quick to pounce on an error

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Spurs were being pinned back and, other than a Defoe shot inches wide, they struggled to create much.

Centre back Michael Dawson had looked solid on his first appearance in three months but he was at fault for the equaliser.

Drogba beat him to a long Cech clearance and was quicker to turn on to the loose ball but Gomes should still have saved the Ivorian's shot that went straight at him.

Chelsea pressed hard for the winner, even bringing on England midfielder Frank Lampard for his first appearance since August, and were presented with the perfect opportunity to find it when Gomes felled the otherwise anonymous Ramires in stoppage time.

Lampard, Chelsea's usual penalty-taker, picked up the ball first but handed it to Drogba, only for the striker to hit his effort at the ideal height for Gomes to save diving to his left.

Having gone 16 years without a win against Chelsea at White Hart Lane, Spurs have now won three and drawn two of their last five meetings there.

They have also reached the last 16 of the Champions League in impressive style and things are going very nicely for Harry Redknapp's team.

The same cannot be said for Chelsea, who desperately need Lampard to get back to form to inject urgency and accuracy into their attack for their next two games, against Manchester United and Arsenal.

Image: Tottenham Hotspur's Roman Pavlyuchenko challenges Chelsea's Florent Malouda during their EPL match

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Man City joins Arsenal at top

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Manchester City fired the opening shots at the start of a pivotal period in the Premier League title race with a 3-1 victory at bottom club West Ham United on Saturday despite the absence of suspended talisman Carlos Tevez.

Midfield powerhouse Yaya Toure showed City are a potent team even without the dynamic Argentine, scoring the opener and forcing an own goal from keeper Robert Green before substitute Adam Johnson completed a routine victory.

City, who have an easier-looking fixture list over the coming weeks than their main rivals, joined leaders Arsenal on 32 points and are one ahead of Manchester United.

United, though, have played 15 games while Arsenal have featured in 16 and City 17.

Image: Man City's Ya Ya Toure celebrates with team-mates after scoring against West Ham

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'Now we are producing the results'

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With the title contenders playing each other over the next two weeks, City's victory at West Ham left the club ideally positioned with almost half the season gone.

Manager Roberto Mancini's expensively assembled side have over relied on Tevez, scorer of nearly half their league goals this season, but at Upton Park they were in cruise control from the moment Toure thumped a shot past Green after 30 minutes.

Mancini has been criticised for a cautious approach this season but assistant Brian Kidd believes the Italian's methods are now beginning to click.

"It speaks volumes we came here today and won," said Kidd, once the right-hand man of Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

"The work Roberto does on the training ground technically and tactically is immense and it's coming to fruition. Now we are producing the results," he told Sky Sports.

"The table looks good but they don't give trophies out in December. We must forget this win and go back home and work towards the next game," he added.

Image: West Ham United's Matthew Upson challenges Manchester City's Jo during their EPL match

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Liverpool disappoints yet again


Alan Pardew enjoyed a dream start as manager of Newcastle United with a 3-1 home win over Liverpool which went some way to pacifying fans angry at this week's sacking of Chris Hughton.

Late goals by Joey Barton and Andy Carroll, a venemous left-footer from 25 metres, sealed victory for Newcastle after Kevin Nolan's opener was cancelled out by Dirk Kuyt.

Aston Villa beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1, Blackpool continued their impressive return to the top flight with a 1-0 win at Stoke City and there were no goals in the games between Fulham and Sunderland and Everton and Wigan Athletic.

Bolton Wanderers rose to fifth in the Premier League with a 2-1 win over local rivals Blackburn Rovers while in Sunday's other derby Wolverhampton Wanderers bagged a vital 1-0 triumph against Birmingham City.

Bolton's Stuart Holden thumped in a Kevin Davies knockdown two minutes from time, seconds after Mame Biram Diouf had cancelled out Fabrice Muamba's 65th-minute opener, to leave Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce seething at his old club.

Bolton now have 26 points from 17 games, while Blackburn remained in 13th on 21 points.

Stephen Hunt's 45th-minute goal gave Wolves a precious victory and takes them to 15 points, still in 19th but only three points shy of Birmingham who are 16th.

Image: Andy Carroll celebrates after scoring against Liverpool during their EPL match

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