Chelsea drop two crucial points in draw with lowly Wigan

AVB ‘disappointed’ after Jordi Gomez equaliser leaves Chelsea six points behind Man City

BY Bill Mann LAST UPDATED AT 09:18 ON Sun 18 Dec 2011

Chelsea were brought down to earth by Wigan on Saturday just five days after their stunning 2-1 defeat of league leaders Manchester City. The Blues were held to a 1-1 draw at strugglers Wigan, a result that leaves them in third place and six points behind City.

With the Sky Blues playing Arsenal later today, it was the perfect opportunity for Chelsea to increase the pressure on the Premier League pace-setters. But after Daniel Sturridge had given the visitors the lead at the DW Stadium, Wigan equalised two minutes from time through Jordi Gomez.

Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas couldn’t hide his frustration at the two dropped points, saying later: “That is disappointing and prevented us from getting the three points that we had expected. It's a pity but the players fought hard and I think confidence is not affected.”

Villas-Boas refused to blame Petr Cech for Wigan’s late equaliser, even though the Chelsea keeper fumbled Hugo Rodallega’s initial shot to gift Gomez his fourth goal in five matches. “It was collective mistakes,” reflected Villas-Boas. “Wigan made the best of our lack of concentration.”

Though Wigan remain in the bottom three, it was their fourth point in two matches and boss Roberto Martinez heaped praise on his players: “We were outstanding,” he said. “We defended with a real tactical knowledge from the players, real awareness and great concentration.”

Martinez would have been even happier with results elsewhere. Bolton lost 2-0 at Fulham to remain pegged to the bottom of the Premier League, while Blackburn lost 2-1 at home to West Brom to lie one place above Bolton. Wigan’s point against Chelsea means they now have a three-point cushion between themselves and Blackburn.

Just above Wigan are Wolves, who lost 2-1 at home to Stoke. Stephen Hunt gave Wolves the lead on 17 minutes but an own goal from Kevin Doyle and a Peter Crouch header handed Stoke their fourth consecutive win, a feat they haven’t achieved in the top-flight since 1981.

“We have created history again,” said Stoke boss Tony Pulis, whose side moved up to eighth spot. “It is the first time this club have won four on the trot in the Premier League. We need another 16 points to get to 40 and we will be absolutely delighted again, doing somersaults.”

One place behind Stoke are Norwich City who held Everton to a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park. Grant Holt gave the Canaries a 1-0 lead on 28 minutes but the Toffees levelled nine minutes from time when Leon Osman diverted Royston Drenthe's shot past Norwich keeper John Ruddy.

Finally, Newcastle’s poor run of form continued as the Magpies were held to a goalless draw at home to Swansea. The result means Newcastle have failed to win any of their last five league matches but boss Alan Pardew refused to criticise his players, saying: "I really can't complain too much about my side. We stopped them playing, which was the aim, to put them under pressure and force errors, which we did.” · 

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