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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Chelsea and Arsenal tie 1-1

Arsenal Football Club dealt Chelsea’s title hopes a blow by holding the champions to a 1-1 draw on Sunday. The result boosted the chances of Premier League leaders Manchester United.

As we know, Arsenal’s French midfielder Mathieu Flamini looked to have rifled in a 78th minute matchwinner, only for Chelsea’s Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien to smash home a stunning 30-metre piledriver in the 86th minute at Stamford Bridge.

However, the real winners on the day were United, who beat Manchester City 3-1 on Saturday and are now eight points ahead of second-placed Chelsea after playing a match more.

We must consider that Manchester United lead with 44 points from 17 games, Chelsea have 36 from 16, followed by Portsmouth and Liverpool on 28. Arsenal moved up to sixth on 26 points from 16 games.

Even though the result was a setback for Jose Mourinho’s side, they came desperately close to suffering a first home league defeat since February 2004, when they lost to Arsenal.

But they could also have snatched victory in injury time when Essien and midfielder Frank Lampard both hit the woodwork. Arsenal, who had lost their last three away league games, packed their midfield in an effort to battle the physical presence of the champions.

In fact, Jose Mourinho accused Arsenal of taking more satisfaction from sabotaging Chelsea’s Premiership challenge than getting their own title bid back on track. Mourinho admitted he was surprised with the Gunners’ cautious gameplan at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho expressed: "Arsenal are 18 points behind United with one game in hand. So when I see a team happy with their result and yet they are out of the title race, it is a surprise. It is very funny to see this kind of cooperation. It looks like they are happy because we didn’t win."



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