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Chelsea, stung by Arsenal defeat, held 1-1 by Villa

Chelsea, stung by Arsenal defeat, held 1-1 by Villa
Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud in action with Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz during the Premier in London, December 28. (Reuters)
LONDON, DEC 29 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 12/29/2020 12:16:36 PM IST

Chelsea, overhauled by coach Frank Lampard after a weekend loss to Arsenal, drew 1-1 at home to Aston Villa on Monday as Oliver Giroud’s first-half header was cancelled out shortly after the break by Anwar El Ghazi.

Lampard made six changes to the team that began Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to their London neighbours and his gamble on Giroud paid off when the France striker stooped to head in a cross by Ben Chilwell in the 34th minute.

It was Giroud’s third goal in four league starts this season, a contrast to a poor run for Timo Werner who has failed to score in the league since Nov. 7. The German, signed from RB Leipzig in the summer, appeared only as a substitute on Monday.

Villa drew level in the 50th minute when El Ghazi sidefooted a volley at the far post through the legs of Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy after a cross by Matty Cash.

Chelsea protested in vain that their defender Andreas Christensen had been fouled in the build-up by Jack Grealish.

The result means Villa and Chelsea sit in fifth and sixth place in the table respectively ahead of Tuesday’s matches.

Leicester move up to second after 1-1 draw at Palace
 
Leicester City moved up to second in the Premier League after a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace when Harvey Barnes cancelled a Wilfried Zaha goal at Selhurst Park on Monday. Leicester will remain second overnight with Everton, level on points with them, not playing later on Monday after their home match against Manchester City was postponed following more positive COVID-19 cases at City.
Leicester dominated the bulk of the game but failed to take their chances and missed a first half penalty while striker Jamie Vardy only came on as a second half substitute. “We’re disappointed not to get three points and we weren’t as clinical as we have been, but it’s onto the next game,” Barnes told Amazon Prime. 
Leicester could have taken an early lead after Luke Thomas was fouled in the box by James Tomkins but Kelechi Iheanacho’s weak effort from the spot after a stuttering run-up was swatted away by goalkeeper Vicente Guaita. Palace made it 1-0 just before the hour mark when Andros Townsend floated a cross to the far post for Zaha to volley home from an acute angle.
However, Barnes equalised when he scored his second goal in as many games, driving a low effort from the edge of the box past the outstretched arm of Guaita in the 83rd minute.
Palace’s winless run in the league has now extended to five games but Zaha was glad to take a point.

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