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Sports

New Year's fizz goes flat for Spurs and Chelsea

Tottenham and Chelsea slipped up in the Premier League's top-four race on Wednesday as Leicester. Chelsea rema
01 Jan, 2020
  • Tottenham and Chelsea slipped up in the Premier League's top-four race on Wednesday as Leicester.
  • Chelsea remain in pole position to secure the fourth Champions League qualification.
  • The visitors missed chances to increase their lead and were indebted to goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

LONDON: Tottenham and Chelsea slipped up in the Premier League's top-four race on Wednesday as Leicester tightened their grip on second spot during a busy programme of New Year's Day football.

Chelsea remain in pole position to secure the fourth Champions League qualification place but manager Frank Lampard will rue conceding a spectacular late equaliser in the 1-1 draw against Brighton.

Those dropped points gave Jose Mourinho's Spurs the chance to crank up the pressure on Chelsea and Manchester United but they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Southampton and England captain Harry Kane limped off with a hamstring injury.

Elsewhere, Leicester won 3-0 at Newcastle while high-flying Wolves went down 2-1 at rejuvenated Watford, who have taken 13 points from their past four matches under new boss Nigel Pearson.

Cesar Azpilicueta gave Chelsea the lead in the early kick-off on England's south coast, tapping in from close range in the 10th minute to put the gloss on their dominance.

The visitors missed chances to increase their lead and were indebted to goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga for producing a series of sharp saves at the other end.

Brighton scored the goal their persistence deserved in the 84th minute when Iranian substitute Alireza Jahanbakhsh acrobatically found the bottom-left corner with an overhead kick to give his team share of the points.

"It was frustrating for different reasons," Lampard told BT Sport. "In the first half, the game was there to be won. We weren't ruthless enough. We got the goal and we had the possession. But we just didn't kill the game off.

"We allowed them to stay in the game. In the end it was a wonder goal but we were lucky not to lose the game."

 Spurs unravel 

 

Tottenham travelled to Southampton with the chance to overtake Manchester United and move three points behind Chelsea but they fell behind to a 17th-minute Danny Ings goal.

Mourinho's men were laboured in attack. Kane injured himself as he converted Christian Eriksen's free-kick in the second half but was flagged offside before hobbling down the tunnel.

Mourinho's frustration boiled over as he was shown a yellow card after an altercation with the Southampton bench.

"I was rude," the Spurs boss told the BBC. "I clearly deserved the yellow card. I had bad words."

"The work is not about buying, it is about working with the players on the pitch," he added. "It is something that is very difficult for us because we have no time to do it."

Ralph Hasenhuettl's Southampton are now in mid-table after a dramatic upturn in form.

Leicester appear to have put a mini-slump behind them, beating Newcastle 3-0 courtesy of goals from Ayoze Perez, James Maddison and Hamza Choudhury after their win at West Ham on Saturday.

Having gambled by making his third and final change at half-time, Newcastle boss Steve Bruce watched aghast as Fabian Schaer was injured just seconds after the restart, leaving Newcastle to play with 10 men for the rest of the match.

Brendan Rodgers made six changes for the trip to the northeast and the win left his side 10 points behind runaway leaders Liverpool, having played two games more.

"It's not our concern to catch Liverpool," said the Leicester boss. "We get asked all the time but we are about developing the squad and the team."

Watford continued their impressive run under Pearson, holding on to beat seventh-placed Wolves 2-1 after a first-half goal from Gerard Deulofeu and a second-half effort from Abdoulaye Doucoure despite later being reduced to 10 men.

Villa beat Burnley 2-1 with first-half goals from Wesley and Jack Grealish.

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are hosting Carlo Ancelotti's Everton in one of the early evening matches while David Moyes takes charge of West Ham for the first time since his return to the London Stadium as manager.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United kick off against Arsenal in the late match while Liverpool face Sheffield United on Thursday.

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