Chelsea win, Arsenal lose in more late drama
LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea and Arsenal experienced contrasting late drama in the Premier League on Monday with an 89th minute Frank Lampard goal giving Chelsea a 2-1 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers while Bobby Zamora's last-gasp strike handed Fulham a 2-1 win over Arsenal.
The late goals followed Sunderland's last-kick winner over league leaders Manchester City Sunday and maintained the unpredictability of the busy holiday program with the race for the title and top four places still wide open.
Manchester City are top on goal difference from Manchester United with both clubs on 45 points from 19 games followed by Tottenham Hotspur in third on 39 having played one game less.
Chelsea are fourth on 37 points from 20 matches, one clear of Arsenal who slipped to fifth after having Johan Djourou sent off 12 minutes from time before Zamora's goal in the third minute of stoppage time sent them crashing to defeat.
City host Liverpool, who are sixth, Tuesday when Spurs take on mid-table West Bromwich Albion while Manchester United visit seventh-placed Newcastle United Wednesday.
In Monday's other matches all the away teams won with Swansea City earning a 2-0 victory at Aston Villa, Stoke City beating Blackburn Rovers 2-1 and Norwich City winning 2-1 at fellow promoted club Queens Park Rangers who had Joey Barton sent off after he had earlier scored the opening goal.
Arsenal slipped one place to fifth after Chelsea's earlier win but seemed set to reclaim a top four spot having taken a 1-0 lead at Craven Cottage with the game moving toward its finale.
Laurent Koscielny put Arsenal ahead with a 21st minute header but Fulham, who lost 5-0 to Manchester United in their last home game, came back strongly in the second half.
They went close to equalising three times before Djourou was sent off for hauling back Zamora in the 78th minute which helped tip the match even more in their favour.
Steve Sidwell, who won the FA Youth Cup at Arsenal but never made the first team, finally headed Fulham level after 85 minutes before Zamora smashed in the winner with a slightly mis-hit left-foot volley with seconds remaining.
Fulham manager Martin Jol, who enjoyed his first Premier League victory over Arsene Wenger's side in nine attempts, told Sky Sports:
"It was amazing. It's a big compliment to all the players because in the second half they were on the front foot and to get the equaliser was a big boost.
"We played very well in the second half after they outplayed us for the first 20 or 25 minutes."
However, Jol's adversary from the Dutchman's days of managing Arsenal's arch-rivals Spurs was far from happy.
Wenger claimed Djourou should not have been sent off and that Arsenal should have had a penalty in the first half when Gervinho was tripped in the box.
"We went down to 10 men but in my opinion it was a foul for us on the second yellow for Djourou," Wenger said.
"We should have had a penalty in the first half, but it was difficult after we went down to 10 men. I also thought the referee got it wrong on the first yellow card for Djourou. He got it all wrong."
While Arsenal's three-match unbeaten league run came to an end, Chelsea ended a four-match winless streak when Lampard struck late to secure victory at Wolves.
Chelsea, who drew three straight matches before losing 3-1 at home to Aston Villa Saturday, went ahead through Ramires after Wolves failed to clear a corner in the 54th minute.
Stephen Ward equalised in the 84th before Lampard struck the winner a minute from time.
"It's a massive win," Lampard told the BBC. "Everyone knows we are having a tough time but the determination shone through and I think we deserved it.
Swansea's victory at Villa was their first on the road since they were promoted, with goals from Nathan Dyer and Wayne Routledge who scored his first goal in the Premier League since he first played in the top division eight years ago.
Blackburn failed to capitalise on their stunning 3-2 win at Manchester United Saturday when they lost at home to Stoke with Peter Crouch scoring the 100th and 101st league goals of his career.
Blackburn remain deep in trouble in 19th with 14 points from 20 matches, one point above bottom side Bolton Wanderers and one point below Wigan Athletic who are also in the drop zone.
QPR meanwhile started well but lost to Norwich who came back strongly after Barton put the home side ahead with a well-taken 11th minute goal.
Barton was then dismissed for an off the ball incident with Bradley Johnson after 34 minutes before Anthony Pilkington equalised for the visitors just before the break and substitute Steve Morison scored their late winner.
(Reporting by Mike Collett, editing by Ken Ferris)
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