Man U, Chelsea draw Arsenal triumph 2-1

October 17th, 2010

Arsenal's Jack Wilshere (centre) congratulates Samir Nasri on scoring their first goal from the penalty spot during the English Premier League match against Birmingham City at the Emirates Stadium, yesterday. Arsenal won the match 2-1. - AP Photo

Manchester United dropped Wayne Rooney to the bench before blowing a two-goal lead and drawing 2-2 with West Bromwich Albion, while leaders Chelsea were held to a scoreless draw at Aston Villa in the Premier League, yesterday.

United didn’t appear to be missing Rooney when Javier Hernandez and Nani scored in the first half.

But after the break, Chris Brunt’s free kick went in off Patrice Evra before Somen Tchoyi tapped in from six yards, after Edwin van der Saar dropped a cross from Brunt. Rooney played the last 20 minutes as United drew a third straight match.

“It’s just explicable – it turned from a fantastic first-half performance to one where we have given the game away,” United manager Alex Ferguson said. “We should have punished them and scored four or five before half-time.”

United were third, four points behind Chelsea, who have collected just four points from their last three matches.

The North London sides both rallied to win 2-1, with Arsenal beating Birmingham and Tottenham triumphing at Fulham.

Bolton also beat Stoke 2-1, while Newcastle were held to 2-2 by Wigan and Wolverhampton drew 1-1 with West Ham.

Quick second-half goals

At Old Trafford, all eyes were on the star striker wrapped up on the bench as Ferguson fuelled suggestions of a rift with Rooney by dropping him.

While Rooney was dealing with problems in his personal life last month, he was rested for several matches by United, with the official reason being that he was struggling with an ankle injury.

But Rooney directly contradicted his manager by revealing on Tuesday that he had no fitness concerns. He had to wait until the 71st minute to come off the bench, but by that time it was already 2-2.

Hernandez pounced quickly after five minutes to tap home after Scott Carson spilled Nani’s free kick.

The Portugal winger gave United a 2-0 half-time lead but the Baggies hit back with their two quick second-half goals.

The result lifted United to third, but they could drop one place if Manchester City beat Blackpool today and close the gap on Chelsea to just two points.

It was a frustrating trip to Birmingham for Chelsea although Nicolas Anelka could have been celebrating a dramatic winner had his downward header not bounced up and against the crossbar.

Villa was also presented with a chance to win the game in stoppage time when Nigel Reo-Coker shot wide when one-on-one with goalkeeper Petr Cech.

At Emirates Stadium, Nikola Zigic headed Birmingham ahead when he rose to meet Keith Fahey’s cross.

But Arsenal won a penalty before half-time when striker Marouane Chamakh went down easily in the box from Scott Dann’s challenge and Samir Nasri levelled from the spot.

Two minutes after the break, Alex Song backheeled to Jack Wilshere and the ball was played through to Chamakh, who ghosted past defender Stephen Carr before rounding goalkeeper Ben Foster and netting the winner.

But Wilshere was sent off near the end for a lunging challenge that caught Zigic’s ankle.

Fulham’s unbeaten record ended as Tom Huddlestone struck a hotly contested second-half winner for Tottenham, which was initially waved off by the linesman because William Gallas was in an offside position. But the decision was overruled by referee Mike Dean, as the ball never touched the defender.

Diomansy Kamara had given Fulham the lead in the 30th and Roman Pavlyuchenko equalised shortly after the ensuing kick-off.

Newcastle draw

At St James’ Park, Fabricio Coloccini headed a goal in the fourth minute of added time to salvage a 2-2 draw for Newcastle after substitute Shola Ameobi started the comeback with a 72nd-minute header.

Charles N’Zogbia scored twice in two first-half minutes against his former club to initially put Wigan in control.

There was also a stoppage time goal at Bolton, with substitute Ivan Klasnic’s strike giving the home side the three points, but there was still time for him to receive a second yellow card to be dismissed.

Lee Chung-yong’s 25-metre goal put Bolton ahead, but Rory Delap levelled.

In a basement dogfight at Molineux, Mark Noble saved goalkeeper Robert Green’s blushes as he scored a second-half penalty to salvage a 1-1 draw for West Ham against Wolves.

Green had failed to clear a routine corner and allowed Matt Jarvis to tap in the opener. Both teams occupy the bottom two places with six points each.


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