Chelsea, Man City held as Arsenal earn win

Chelsea’s Eden Hazard celebrates after scoring a goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, England, Sunday, Dec. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)


By Rob Harris ,AP

LONDON — Chelsea retained its three-point lead at the midpoint of the Premier League season on Sunday despite being held to a draw by Southampton, thanks to Manchester City collapsing against struggling Burnley.

After Eden Hazard recovered a 1-1 draw for Chelsea at fourth-place Southampton, defending champion City threw away a 2-0 lead at home to draw 2-2 with 19th-place Burnley.

On a day when 18 of the 20 teams were in action less than 48 hours after playing on Friday in this traditionally packed Christmas fixture program, the top four all drew.

Manchester United missed an opportunity to make ground on the pacesetters, remaining seven points behind City in third place after being held 0-0 at Tottenham.

But Arsenal dislodged West Ham from fifth place by winning their London derby 2-1 after Santi Cazorla earned and converted a penalty and Danny Welbeck scored the second.

At the other end of the standings, Leicester remains bottom but raised its hopes of survival by beating Hull 1-0 for its first victory since September.

Hull is only out of the relegation zone due to its superior goal difference over Crystal Palace, which drew 0-0 with fellow struggler Queens Park Rangers.

The most goals of the day came in a clash of mid-table teams at St. James’ Park, with Jack Colback scoring his first Newcastle goal to clinch a 3-2 win over Everton.

The remaining fixture from round 19 is on Monday when Liverpool hosts Swansea. Unlike last season, Liverpool is out of the title race as it sits in 10th place.

A big surprise looked possible at Southampton when Chelsea conceded in the 17th minute as Sadio Mane raced onto a pass from Dusan Tadic and lifted the ball over goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.