Chelsea draw Manchester United 0-0

United leads with 54 points. Liverpool is third with 40, ahead of Arsenal on goal difference after the Gunners thrash Charlton 4-0.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2007 12:03 IST

Chelsea failed to gain ground on Premier League leader Manchester United on Tuesday, settling for a 0-0 draw at Aston Villa on Tuesday.

Chelsea had the majority of chances at Villa Park but failed to score in a league game for the first time all season and remained six points behind United, which drew 2-2 at Newcastle on Monday.

"I think (the team) answered my criticism," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said. "Six points at the end of this disgraceful period is not bad and the way they fought, we are leaving with a lot of hopes for the second part of the season."

United leads with 54 points. Liverpool is third with 40, ahead of Arsenal on goal difference after the Gunners thrashed Charlton 4-0 at Emirates Stadium.

Buoyed by the news that captain John Terry should return for Chelsea's League Cup semifinal first leg at Wycombe on Jan. 13, the Blues defense held an opponent without a goal for the first time in four games.

Didier Drogba should have put Chelsea ahead in the eighth, but the Ivory Coast striker miss-timed his volley off Michael Essien's cross, driving it over the crossbar.

Ashley Cole directed a first-half header into goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly's hands, and as the defending champions applied the pressure through the last 10 minutes, midfielder Frank Lampard put his shot from inside the penalty area over the bar.

"We were on top of them, we played very well except for maybe around the box, and that was me having shots and it wasn't happening," Lampard said. "Three draws is not great, the two home games especially we should have won. Everyone has dips but it is important you keep working hard to get out of them."

The Blues defensive woes continued in the 34th when Khalid Boulahrouz limped off with an apparent ankle injury. Mourinho said he would not rush Terry back as a result, despite having no center backs available for the FA Cup third-round match against Macclesfield on Saturday.

Ricardo Carvalho is suspended after being booked for the fifth time this season. For Arsenal, Thierry Henry scored the winner and set up another in his first game since November.

The Gunners captain, who was suffering from a back injury, put Arsenal ahead in the 29th minute from the penalty spot after fullback Osei Sankofa was shown a red card for a foul on Robin van Persie.

Henry then played Justin Hoyte through in the 45th for the defender's first goal as a Gunner.

Van Persie completed the rout over 10-man Charlton with another penalty in the 74th and a deft chip for his 10th league goal in injury time.

"It was a boost (Henry's return), individually and psychologically," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "If you look at our results over the past five weeks, we've been consistent,we want to continue that."

Arsenal had lost only one league game in seven during Henry's absence.

The loss was Charlton manager Alan Pardew's first in three games since taking over the Addicks on December 24. Charlton remained in 19th with 16 points.

First Published: Jan 03, 2007 12:01 IST