Edmonton Journal

Top four teams all draw in Premier League play

- ROB HARRIS The Associated Press

LONDON — Chelsea retained its three-point lead at the midpoint of the Premier League season on Sunday despite being held to a draw by Southampto­n, thanks to Manchester City collapsing against struggling Burnley.

After Eden Hazard recovered a 1-1 draw for Chelsea at fourth-place Southampto­n, defending champion City threw away a 2-0 lead at home to draw 2-2 with 19thplace Burnley.

On a day when 18 of the 20 teams were in action less than 48 hours after playing on Friday in this traditiona­lly packed Christmas fixture program, the top four all drew.

Manchester United missed an opportunit­y to make ground on the pacesetter­s, remaining seven points behind City in third place after being held 0-0 at Tottenham.

But Arsenal dislodged West Ham from fifth place by winning their London derby 2-1 after Santi Cazorla earned and converted a penalty and Danny Welbeck scored the second.

At the other end of the standings, Leicester remains bottom but raised its hopes of survival by beating Hull 1-0.

Hull is only out of the relegation zone due to its superior goal difference over Crystal Palace, which drew 0-0 with fellow struggler Queens Park Rangers.

The most goals of the day came in a clash of mid-table teams at St. James’ Park, with Jack Colback scoring his first Newcastle goal to clinch a 3-2 win over Everton.

The remaining fixture from round 19 is on Monday when Liverpool hosts Swansea. Unlike last season, Liverpool is out of the title race as it sits in 10th place.

A big surprise looked possible at Southampto­n when Chelsea conceded in the 17th minute as Sadio Mane raced onto a pass from Dusan Tadic and lifted the ball over goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

But Southampto­n was punished for a defensive lapse just before halftime. Hazard ran onto a pass from Cesc Fabregas, cut inside a defender and shot across goal and into the far corner. It was Fabregas’ 13th assist of the season, equalling the league-leading total by Steven Gerrard in 2013-14.

Even the dismissal of Southampto­n midfielder Morgan Schneiderl­in in the 89th for a second booking couldn’t prevent another memorable result in this unexpected campaign for the south-coast team.

“Southampto­n defended with everything and they defended a lot,” Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said. “We tried everything and we dominated, we created a lot.”

Unlike Chelsea, City did score twice — but conceded as many.

David Silva scored his fourth goal in three appearance­s after being set up by Jesus Navas midway through the first half and Fernandinh­o curled in a shot off the underside of the crossbar before halftime.

But George Boyd began Burnley’s comeback two minutes after the break when Danny Ings shot across the face of goal. And Ashley Barnes grabbed the equalizer in the 81st minute by reacting quickest to connect with the ball in a crowded penalty area.

In East London, Arsenal did manage to hold on to its lead.

Cazorla was tripped in the area and converted the penalty in the 41st to put Arsenal ahead. Danny Welbeck doubled the lead three minutes later after a pass from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlai­n.

Although Cheikhou Kouyate pulled one back for West Ham with a header at the start of the second half, Arsenal held on for its second 2-1 win in three days to nudge close to the top four.

 ?? TIM IRELAND/ THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Chelsea’s Eden Hazard (10) is congratula­ted after scoring a goal against Southampto­n.
TIM IRELAND/ THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Chelsea’s Eden Hazard (10) is congratula­ted after scoring a goal against Southampto­n.

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