In an English Premier League campaign about restoring pride at Chelsea, the fallen champions still ensure their games cannot be ignored. I
On Saturday, a dreary opening 45 minutes against Everton made way for a thrilling second half that started with John Terry’s own goal and ended with the captain scoring in the right net in the eighth minute of stoppage time to clinch a 3-3 draw.
Even Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink — unbeaten since replacing the fired Jose Mourinho last month — accepted Terry was offside when he flicked the ball past goalkeeper Tim Howard in stoppage time.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez was aggrieved that the referee played an additional minute of injury time when seven had been indicated on the fourth official’s board just after Ramiro Funes Mori made it 3-2 in the 90th minute. Everton led through Terry’s own goal and Kevin Mirallas’ strike on the turn before Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas scored for Chelsea.
“There is an understandable feeling of disappointment in having to drop two points in a game that we had to play seven minutes of injury time with the last action happening in seven minutes and 51 seconds,” Martinez said.
The result has no impact on the title race or relegation. There is no realistic prospect of Chelsea — six points above the drop zone in 14th place — being sucked into danger, while Everton is 11th.
The surprise leader once again was Leicester, the team that was battling relegation a year ago.
And yet Saturday represented a missed opportunity for the team led by former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri. By drawing 1-1 with bottom-place Aston Villa after Shinji Okazaki’s opener was canceled out by Rudy Gestede, Leicester is only on top by a point.
Arsenal can reclaim top spot by just drawing at Stoke on Sunday. Between Leicester and Arsenal is ever-present Manchester City.
Sergio Aguero, twice, and Fabian Delph and David Sivla scored to power City to a 4-0 rout of Crystal Palace. For the first time in 28 years, Palace is without a win, or goal, in its last five league games.
There was a pair of significant wins, however, for struggling teams.
Bournemouth halted a four-match winless run with a 3-0 victory over Norwich that was completed by $17 million record signing Benik Afobe, a recent recruit for the newcomers, after goals from Dan Gosling and Charlie Daniels.
The win lifted Bournemouth a place above Norwich into 15th — only a point behind Chelsea.
Newcastle climbed out of the relegation zone to move two points behind Norwich by beating West Ham 2-1 through first-half goals from Ayoze Perez and Georginio Wijnaldum.
With fifth-place West Ham losing, it was an even better day for Tottenham, which moved fourth points ahead of its London rival by coming from behind to beat Sunderland 4-1.
Christian Eriksen inspired Tottenham’s recovery with a double, after losing to Leicester on Wednesday, while Mousa Dembele also netted, and Harry Kane’s penalty wrapped up the three points.
Even though it was match day, Southampton managed to complete a signing, bolstering its attacking options by enticing Charlie Austin from Queens Park Rangers. The England striker watched from the stands as James Ward-Prowse scored twice and Dusan Tadic rounded off a 3-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion.