Chelsea fight back to stretch lead

Other News Materials 29 December 2009 05:34 (UTC +04:00)
Chelsea came from behind to beat Fulham 2-1 on Monday and stretch their lead at the top of the table to five points.
Chelsea fight back to stretch lead

Chelsea came from behind to beat Fulham 2-1 on Monday and stretch their lead at the top of the table to five points, dpa reported.

Manchester United, who face Wigan Athletic on Wednesday, remain second, while Arsenal, who are at Portsmouth on Wednesday and have an additional game in hand, lie a point further back.

"This could be an important victory in the season because I'm very happy with the reaction of the team during a bad spell," said Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti.

"We reacted as a team and not individuals. Fulham are not easy to play - they are well-organised and score goals."

Zoltan Gera hooked the opener for Fulham after Chelsea had failed to clear Paul Konchesky's fourth-minute cross.

Chelsea pressed for much of the rest of the game, and Didier Drogba finally levelled with 17 minutes remaining.

The winner came a minute later as Daniel Sturridge's cross shot was saved by Mark Schwarzer, hit defender Chris Smalling and ricocheted in.

Manchester City won their second game under Roberto Mancini, beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-0 to register their first away win since August.

Carlos Tevez put them ahead with a deflected shot after 33 minutes following fine work on the left from Craig Bellamy.

Javier Garrido added a second with a 69th-minute free-kick, before Tevez added a third with a angled shot from just outside the box with three minutes remaining.

Luka Modric marked his first start since suffering a broken leg in August with a goal as Tottenham Hotspur beat West Ham United 2-0.

The Croatian volleyed in Aaron Lennon's cross after 11 minutes and Jermain Defoe sealed the win on the break with nine minutes remaining.

With neither Aston Villa nor any of the bottom three playing, Tottenham climbed to fourth while West Ham remain fourth bottom.

"Our football has been great and we played some great stuff in the second half I thought, really opened them up," Spurs manager Harry Redknapp told Sky Sports.

"We dominated the first half but when it is only 1-0 you know it just takes a second for the game to turn upside down.

"It was difficult for them but on the day we were stronger."

West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola was determined to see the positives, despite a raft of injuries.

"We can only be strong and try to get round this problem - that's all we can do," he said.

"I must say the reaction from the team for all the injury problems has been massive."

Darren Bent scored twice as Sunderland drew 2-2 at Blackburn Rovers.

The first came after 52 minutes as he forced in following a penalty box scramble, but his second, 12 minutes later was rather classier.

Morten Gamst Pedersen levelled on 53 minutes, but then Bent ran on to Jordan Henderson's through ball and clipped in his 13th league goal of the season.

Blackburn, though, hit back again, the former Sunderland player El Hadji Diouf heading in from Pascal Chimbonda's cross.

Cameron Jerome struck after 50 minutes as Birmingham City won 1-0 at Stoke City to stretch their unbeaten run to a club record 11 matches.

James Vaughan scored his first goal in two years with seven minutes remaining to set Everton on their way to a 2-0 win over Burnley.

Steven Pienaar added his first goal of the season in the last minute to wrap up the win.

Burnley had had defender Stephen Jordan was sent off for a second bookable offence on the hour mark.