Man City blow chance to close on Chelsea, Arsenal climb to fifth

Manchester City squandered a gilt-edged opportunity to close the gap on Premier League leaders Chelsea when they let slip a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at home to struggling Burnley on Sunday.

Reuters| Last Updated: Dec 29, 2014, 00:22 AM IST
Man City blow chance to close on Chelsea, Arsenal climb to fifth

London: Manchester City squandered a gilt-edged opportunity to close the gap on Premier League leaders Chelsea when they let slip a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at home to struggling Burnley on Sunday.

AS IT HAPPENED

Chelsea stuttered to a 1-1 draw at Southampton and champions City looked poised to close the gap at the top to one point when they scored twice in the first half against Burnley, but Ashley Barnes lashed in an equaliser nine minutes from time.

Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris inspired his team to a feisty 0-0 draw with third-placed Manchester United and Arsenal climbed to fifth with a 2-1 win at London rivals West Ham United.

Fourth-placed Southampton took a deserved 17th-minute lead against Chelsea, running clear of the defence to slot coolly past Thibaut Courtois at St Mary`s.

The visitors struggled to produce their usual fluent attacking play but equalised just before halftime when Eden Hazard brilliantly controlled a fine pass from Cesc Fabregas, cut inside and stroked the ball into the net.

Chelsea poured forward in search of a winner but were frustrated by well-organised Southampton who had midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin sent off in the closing stages after receiving a second yellow card.

Jose Mourinho`s team remained top of the table, three points ahead of City.

"I can believe Southampton defended with everything they have -- with organisation, spirit and solidarity of players and the effort they fought to get the point," Mourinho told Sky Sports.

"My players tried to win, especially in the second half.

"A point is a point against a difficult team," added the Portuguese who was fuming that his side were not awarded a penalty when Fabregas went down in the area but was booked for diving.

Manchester City, seeking a 10th successive win, eased into a 2-0 lead against Burnley thanks to first-half goals by Jesus Navas and Fernandinho but the visitors got a lifeline when George Boyd tapped in just after the interval.

Barnes struck with a sweet strike from 12 metres to level for Burnley who hung on for a welcome point in their bid to avoid relegation.
EARLY PRESSURE

Spurs survived a wave of early United pressure but threatened to end the visitors` eight-match unbeaten run in the closing stages at White Hart Lane.

United, who had won seven of their last eight games, stayed third in the table, 10 points behind Chelsea, and Tottenham are seventh.

"We lost two points. We had the best performance of the season in the first half and could have scored four or five goals," United manager Louis van Gaal said.

"We were fantastic. But when you don`t score goals you cannot win. The second half was a struggle."

The visitors, who named an unchanged starting line-up for the first time in 85 matches, dominated the first half.

Frenchman Lloris made a fine diving save to tip over Ashley Young`s fierce curling shot and Phil Jones had a close-range effort correctly ruled out for offside.

The influential Juan Mata`s deflected free kick also crashed against the post and Robin van Persie should have scored after running on to a sublime pass from Michael Carrick but Lloris blocked his tame shot.

Spurs nearly sneaked victory eight minutes from time when midfielder Ryan Mason blazed the ball over after good hold-up play from Harry Kane.

Arsenal struck twice before halftime through Santi Cazorla`s penalty and a neat finish from Danny Welbeck but West Ham hit back nine minutes after the interval through Cheikhou Kouyate.

Bottom club Leicester City won 1-0 at Hull City, Mame Diouf scored twice to lead Stoke City to a 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion and managerless Crystal Palace eked out a 0-0 draw at Queens Park Rangers.

Aston Villa overcame the sending-off of Fabian Delph to draw 0-0 with Sunderland.

Leicester stayed bottom, three points behind Burnley, Palace and Hull.

Newcastle United host Everton in the day`s late kickoff.