Chelsea draw but go five points clear

Sunday, October 17, 2010

LONDON - Chelsea are five points clear at the top of the Premier League as they drew 0-0 at Aston Villa, while Manchester United threw away a two-goal lead to draw at home.

Both sides had chances to win it at Villa Park, Villa starting the better while Chelsea dominated the second half Saturday.

“We knew the Manchester United result before we started but we knew it was a tough game,” said Chelsea captain John Terry. “In the end they could have won, or we could have won it.

“We’ve found it difficult here the last three or four year so we’re quite happy to come away with a point.”

Stephen Ireland chipped just wide early on, and then John Carew drew a full-length diving save from Petr Cech.

But it took an excellent save with his feet from Brad Friedel to deny Nicolas Anelka in the second half, then Branislav Ivanovic headed against the post.

Ciaran Clark, only playing because Richard Dunne suffered a gashed ankle in the first half, also glanced a header against the post from an Ashley Young free-kick, and then Anelka headed against the bar in the final minute, but the game finished goalless.

“That’s a great point against a great team,” said Villa forward Ashley Young.

“The defence has been brilliant all season but to get a clean sheet was brilliant.”

Only once before in the Premier League had United squandered a two-goal lead at home, but they did so again to draw 2-2 with West Bromwich Albion.

With Wayne Rooney starting on the bench, Manchester United raced into a two-goal lead at Old Trafford.

Javier Hernandez got the opener after five minutes, his first Premier League goal, following in after Scott Carson had spilled a Nani free-kick.

It was Nani who got the second, after a one-two with Dimitar Berbatov.

Nemanja Vidic headed against the bar early in the second half, but within seconds West Brom had pulled one back as Chris Brunt’s free-kick ricocheted around the box, eventually going in off Patrice Evra.

And after 55 minutes, Somen Tchoyi tapped in after a dreadful error from United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.

“It is an inexplicable result and obviously frustrating,” said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

“I suppose there are two ways of looking at it. If we were in the middle of the league we could say we were still undefeated. For us it is not good enough.”

At the Emirates, Nikola Zigic headed his first Premier League goal from a Barry Ferguson cross after 33 minutes, but Samir Nasri levelled from the penalty spot eight minutes later, after Marouane Chamakh had tumbled over Scott Dann.

Chamakh, demonstrating deft footwork, gave Arsenal the lead two minutes after half-time.

Jack Wilshere was sent off for serious foul play late on after a bad foul on Zigic.

“He mistimed his tackle and got a red card, which he deserved,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

“Jack has acknowledged he deserved it, but he did not spend his whole game trying to kick people, he was one of the best players on the pitch.”

Tottenham Hotspur came from behind to inflict a first defeat of the season on Fulham.

Clint Dempsey laid on the opener for Diomansy Kamara, but Roman Pavlyuchenko levelled within a minute, following in after Rafael van der Vaart’s chip had hit the bar.

Tom Huddlestone got the winner 18 minutes into the second half with a 30-yard drive.

Charles N’Zogbia struck twice against his former club as Wigan Athletic drew 2-2 at Newcastle United.

The goals, both set up by Franco di Santo crosses from the right, came in the space of two minutes, the first a fine header; the second a magnificent volley.

But Shola Ameobi pulled one back after 72 minutes and Andy Carroll levelled in injury-time.

In the big game at the bottom, Matt Jarvis capitalised on a weak punch from Rob Green to give Wolverhampton Wanderers the lead against West Ham United after 10 minutes, but Mark Noble levelled from the penalty spot eight minutes after half-time.

Substitute Ivan Klasnic scored an injury-time winner as Bolton Wanderers beat Stoke City 2-1, and was then sent off for a second yellow card.

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