Arsenal missed the chance to join Manchester United and Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, after Sebastien Squillac late own goal gave Wigan Athletic a 2-2 home draw against Arsene Wenger’s side.
Wenger made eight changes to the team that defeated Chelsea 3-1 on Monday, but it was Wigan who started stronger, Ben Watson giving the hosts an 18th-minute lead from the penalty spot.
However, Andrey Arshavin and Nicklas Bendtner gave Arsenal a 2-1 advantage heading into half-time lead. After Charles N’Zogbia was sent off in the second half, Arsenal fans must have thought they have grabbed all three points, but the Gunners could not hold on with Squillaci heading into his own net nine minutes from time.
Chelsea recovered from their loss in north London on Monday to win for the first time in seven Premier League games, and possibly kick-start their title defence with a 1-0 home victory against Bolton Wanderers.
Carlo Ancelotti’s team struggled for any sort of rhythm in the first half and were booed off the pitch at half-time by a section of the Stamford Bridge crowd. But Florent Malouda calmed Chelsea’s nerves, with his first goal in two month, tapping in from Didier Drogba’s cross in the 61st minute. The Blues held on to move above Tottenham Hotspurand into fourth, two points behind the Gunners.
In the other match, Liverpool slumped to an embarrassing 1-0 home defeat to lowly Wolverhampton, which moved off the bottom of the standings. West Ham goes into 2011 as the division’s last-place side.
Meanwhile, Liverpool continued their poor form this season losing 1-0 at home to the side that started the evening bottom of the table, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wolves, which was bottom of the table when the game kicked off and was without an away league win all season, took the three points after striker Stephen Ward flicked the ball past Pepe Reina in the 56th.
Even fit-again England midfielder Steven Gerrard, back after six weeks out injured, could not rescue the 18-time champions, who are 12th heading into the new year. The loss heaps more pressure on Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson and I expect him to be the next Premier League manager sacked.
photo credit: yira_albornoz