Posted by Barrie on Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Chelsea Avoid Scare on Avram Grant's Return

Chelsea were thrown a lifeline after Marc Wilson's lunge on Branislav Ivanovic inside the penalty box gifted the Blues a winning penalty to maintain their 3 point lead at the top of the Premier League.

Nicolas Anelka had given Chelsea an early lead, but they were pegged back at the start of the second half by Frederic Piquionne and were made to work for their victory in the second half. This put similes on the faces of several gamblers worldwide I'm sure as their odds to win went up to evens with 15 minutes remaining. Less than 5 minutes later Frank Lampard's penalty sealed the deal. Avram Grant had made 7 changes to his Portsmouth side from their game at the weekend but they didn't rollover.

Yesterday, Manchester United had temporarily levelled Chelsea's points tally with a 3-0 victory over Wolves. This victory for Chelsea may get their momentum started ahead of their trip to Upton Park on Sunday. Potentially a tricky task on boxing day as they travel to Birmingham, but their defence will be up against it when they face Didier Drogba in particular. Other than that, there is potential for a few comfortable wins between now and they end of January.

Aston Villa's move up into 3rd place following their 2-0 victory at Sunderland yesterday was only temporarily, but they are in a better position than when they week started after Arsenal were held 1-1 at Burnley. Cesc Fabregas gave Arsenal an early lead but failed to take several chances to double their lead shortly after and were made to pay when Thomas Vermaelen gave away a penalty from which Graham Alexander equalised. After Fabregas departed before half time, Arsenal failed to create any real threat to Brian Jensen's goal.

Liverpool returned to winning ways with a 2-1 victory over Wigan that saw goals from David N'Gog and Fernando Torres. This moves Liverpool up to 6th in the league after Manchester City were stuffed 3-0 at Tottenham. Mark Hughes' decision to start Robinho backfired and we apologise for a poor tip on that match, although we did warn Hughes not to play the Brazilian! This is only City's second Premier League defeat of the season. Birmingham's victory over Blackburn moves them above Manchester City and into 7th; making up part of our 100% record on Tuesday.

Arsenal look to get back to winning ways this weekend when they host Hull, looking for revenge after last season's shock result. Manchester United face a tricky trip to Fulham who will feel warmer at home on Saturday after winning in sub-zero temperatures in Basle, Switzerland this evening to qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League. Be sure to check out our Premier League Tips for these games and the full Premier League schedule from tomorrow.

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