MANCHESTER, Jan 1 (Reuters) - Danny Ings continued his fine scoring form to earn Southampton a 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur - who had striker Harry Kane go off injured - in the Premier League on New Year’s Day, while Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw at Brighton & Hove Albion.
Brighton forward Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s brilliant equaliser denied Chelsea winning back-to-back league matches for the first time since November.
The draw means fourth-placed Chelsea are five points clear of Manchester United, in action later in the day at Arsenal, and six clear of Spurs after another away defeat.
Despite early improvements under coach Jose Mourinho, Spurs have suffered from inconsistency of late, with their loss at St Mary’s derailing their push for the top four.
Days after a laboured showing in a 2-2 draw at bottom side Norwich City, Spurs could not find a way back into the game after Ings’ eighth goal in his last nine appearances in the 17th minute.
Kane thought he had equalised late in the second half, but he was adjudged to be offside. The England captain then limped off, seemingly with a hamstring injury.
“We see the bad result today which is the continuity of the last year,” Mourinho said.
“For 12 months, it has been very difficult to get results away from home. The work is not about buying, it is about working with the players on the pitch. It is something that is very difficult for us because we have no time to do it.”
Chelsea have also struggled for consistency over the festive period, but looked to be on course for victory at the Amex Stadium to follow their success at Arsenal on Saturday.
Cesar Azpilicueta celebrated his 100th start as Chelsea captain by putting Chelsea in front, guiding the ball home from close range in the 10th minute.
The visitors held on to that lead until the 84th minute, when Iranian Jahanbakhsh came off the bench to spectacularly earn his side a point, firing home an incredible overhead kick.
“When I saw the ball, I just tried to hit it as hard as I could and the bicycle kick was the only option,” he said. “I’m going to watch it a couple more times.”
The result helped Brighton end a run of nine straight league defeats by Chelsea stretching back to 1983.
Leicester City recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory at Newcastle United — their second away win in as many games.
Former Newcastle forward Ayoze Perez got the ball rolling in the first half for Brendan Rodgers’ side, before a stunning strike from James Maddison made it two before halftime.
Hamza Choudhury’s first goal for the club was the icing on the cake for Leicester, who closed the gap to Liverpool at the top of the table to 10 points.
Watford continued their resurgence under new manager Nigel Pearson as they made it three wins from their last four games with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Christian Kabasele was sent off after the intervention of VAR with 20 minutes to go, but the home side held on for the win.
Earlier in the day, Aston Villa earned just their second away win of the season with a 2-1 success at Burnley, who have now lost six of their last eight games. (Reporting by Peter Hall Editing by Christian Radnedge)