Chelsea's title defence continued to splutter on Sunday when they could only draw 1-1 at Newcastle United and missed their chance of returning to the top. Having lost three of their last four league games, Chelsea fell behind again after six minutes when Andy Carroll took advantage of a misplaced backpass by Alex.
The champions levelled through Salomon Kalou at the end of the first half but though they were on top for most of the second period they struggled to create clear chances.
Manchester United remain top on 31 points with Chelsea and Arsenal, 4-2 winners at Aston Villa, both on 29.
Chelsea were the more dominant side but struggled to create much more than half-chances. Didier Drogba had the ball in the net after 77 minutes but the whistle had already sounded for handball while Kalou missed from two metres out moments later and Daniel Sturridge dragged a shot wide five minutes from time.
“They had the ascendancy but credit to every one of our players,” Newcastle manager Chris Hughton said. “We knew we had to dig in and got to a stage where, if you can ever be a little bit comfortable against the quality they have, we ended up being a touch comfortable.”
Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti said: “We had a bad start but after that it was a good reaction and the performance was good but we have to do better up front. In three away games we've scored just one goal and that's not enough. It's not a good moment, we've lost the top of the table.”