Football: Ten-Man Wigan Spike Arsenal's Guns As Chelsea Win

30 Dec

LONDON – Arsenal missed the chance to go second in the Premier League after failing to protect a lead in a 2-2 draw away to 10-man Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium on Wednesday.

Meanwhile champions Chelsea, beaten 3-1 by Arsenal on Monday, returned to the top four and ended a six-game winless streak after a 1-0 victory at home to Bolton Wanderers.

At Anfield, Wolves moved off the bottom of the table with a 1-0 win away to Liverpool that piled the pressure on Reds manager Roy Hodgson.

Two goals in six minutes near the end of the first half from Arsenal's Andrey Arshavin and Nicklas Bendtner saw the Gunners recover after Ben Watson had put Wigan ahead from the penalty spot at the DW Stadium.

It seemed as if Wigan had blown their chances of an equaliser when Charles N'Zogbia was sent-off in the 78th minute after recklessly leaning his head into Arsenal substitute Jack Wilshere.

But three minutes later Wigan were level when Arsenal's Sebastien Squillaci turned a header across goal from Hugo Rodallega into his own net.

The draw left Arsenal third, two points behind leaders Manchester United and second-placed Manchester City, while the result saw Wigan climb out of the relegation zone.

Chelsea were booed off at half-time by their own fans at Stamford Bridge after a dire first half where neither they nor sixth-placed Bolton managed a shot on target.

But the jeers turned to cheers just after the hour mark when Malouda turned in a Didier Drogba cross at the far post.

Victory left Chelsea four points behind United, who have a game in hand.

Arsenal were 1-0 down in the 18th minute.

N'Zogbia ran at the Gunners' defence before tumbling on the edge of the box as he went between Abou Diaby and Laurent Koscielny and Watson made no mistake with the ensuing spot-kick.

The Gunners, though, scored twice shortly before half-time.

They drew level in the 39th minute when, after Bendtner's shot was blocked by Wigan keeper Ali Al-Habsi, the ball looped up to Russia international Arshavin, who struck an acrobatic volley from 14 yards out.

Roles were reversed in the 44th minute when Arshavin ran at Wigan and then found Bendtner on the edge of the area.

The Danish striker powered his way past a couple of weak challenges before calmly shooting past Al-Habsi.

Liverpool, kings of English football from the mid 1970s through the 1980s, had already lost at Anfield to newly-promoted Blackpool this season.

But this defeat, against a Wolves side that had not previously won away from home this term, was arguably even worse.

Stephen Ward sealed a priceless win for Wolves in the 56th minute when, played onside by Liverpool's Glen Johnson, ran through and beat Pepe Reina to give the Black Country club their first win over the Merseysiders in 26 years.

– AFP /ls

Channel News Asia


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