Mon, Jan 13, 2003 - Page 20 News List

Chelsea gets closer to mighty Arsenal

STRONG CONTENDERS The London team closed the gap between them and the Premier League leaders to five points with a 4-1 win over cross-town rivals Charlton Athletic

REUTERS AND AFP , LONDON

Chelsea defender William Gallas celebrates his goal Saturday in London.

PHOTO: AP

Chelsea closed the gap on leaders Arsenal to five points with a 4-1 win over London rivals Charlton Ath-letic on a muddy Stamford Bridge pitch in London on Saturday.

Goals from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, William Gallas and Eidur Gudjohnsen put Chelsea 3-0 up before the 40-minute mark.

Charlton striker Jason Euell gave the visitors a toehold with a 42nd-minute penalty but after the break Chelsea's former England full-back Graeme Le Saux killed off the Addicks' revival hopes.

The result ensured Chelsea stayed third but Arsenal will once again be eight points clear of their capital rivals if they managed to beat Birmingham at St Andrews yesterday.

Charlton had taken 1-0 victories on their last two trips to Stamford Bridge but Chelsea capitalized on the visitors' errors to ensure they did not make it a hat-trick.

A dreadful pitch, which was due to be dug up after this game, hindered both sides.

Bolton Wanderers 0, Fulham 0

A draw was always on the cards at the Reebok Stadium with Wanderers having managed only two home wins in the top flight this season and Fulham just one win away.

Fulham will be happier with the point after weathering long periods of pressure. Goalkeeper Maik Taylor made a fine save from Nigerian Jay Jay Okocha's free kick, while midfielder Sylvain Legwinski cleared off the line to deny Ricardo Gardner.

Liverpool 1, Aston Villa 1

The misery goes on for Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier. His side, who topped the table from mid-October to mid-November, have now gone 11 league games without a win and are 11 points behind leaders Arsenal.

Michael Owen, restored to the starting line-up after a hamstring injury, crashed home an unstoppable first-time shot after good work from El Hadji Diouf to give the home side a 38th minute lead. It was the England striker's first league goal since Nov. 2.

Villa made a bright start to the second half with Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland denying Ian Taylor and Lee Hendrie. The visitors deservedly drew level on 49 minutes, Dion Dublin casually converting a penalty awarded for Sami Hyypia's trip on Gareth Barry.

Manchester City 2, Leeds United 1

City bounced back from their FA Cup defeat by Liverpool to end Leeds's mini revival, victory cementing a top-half place for Kevin Keegan's side after an indifferent start to the campaign.

Midfielder Eyal Berkovic's fine pass allowed striker Shaun Goater to net a 29th minute opener, his sixth goal of the season.

Danish defender Niclas Jensen added a stunning second five minutes after the re-start, netting with a first-time volley from a 50m pass, and City held on, despite a late reply from Harry Kewell.

Middlesbr 2, Southampton 2

Resurgent Southampton looked set to end Middlesbrough's unbeaten home record but Steve McLaren's battlers netted twice in the last 17 minutes to earn a draw.

Saints were cruising thanks to two goals from in-form striker James Beattie, who took his premier league tally for the season to 15 and now leads the scoring chart.

Beattie volleyed home five minutes from the break after exchanging passes with Chris Marsden, before pouncing on a poor Tony Vidmar pass to make it 2-0 on the hour with a fine first-time strike from 25 metres.

Noel Whelan began Boro's recovery on 73 minutes and a penalty from Massimo Maccarone eight minutes from time made it 2-2.

It was the Italian striker's first goal since Sept. 28.

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