Chelsea, Liverpool drop points in Premier League

September 1st, 2008 - 3:27 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 1 (DPA) Chelsea dropped their first points of the Premier League season as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge by Tottenham Hotspur, then saw Liverpool play out a dull stalemate away to Aston Villa.Chelsea and Liverpool were the only two sides to have won their opening two games, leaving them sharing the leadership of the Premier League on seven points

Spurs, who had lost their opening two games of the season, fell behind to Juliano Belletti’s 27th-minute strike, but levelled against the run of play through Darren Bent on the stroke of half-time here Sunday.

Chelsea never achieved the sort of fluidity they had in their opening weekend victory over Portsmouth and, although they laid late siege to the Tottenham goal, they always looked vulnerable on the break.

Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes made a back-pedalling tip over to keep out an early chip from Frank Lampard, but Tottenham gave as good as they got in the opening quarter, and forced a string of corners.

The closest they came in that spell, though, was Bent’s eighth-minute effort that was deflected wide after some lovely interplay between Giovani dos Santos and Luka Modric.

Slowly, Chelsea came to dominate, and a 21st-minute corner that caused chaos on the Tottenham box was a precursor was about to come.

Michael Essien, operating in midfield in advance of Belletti, was given time to shoot, and when his effort cannoned back off the bar, Jonathan Woodgate cleared behind to prevent an offside Joe Cole latching onto the rebound.

The referee Howard Webb gave a corner, though. Deco’s delivery seemed too low, but as Bent missed his kick, Belletti swept the ball past Gomes.

At that, Chelsea seemed to be walking it, but in first-half injury time, the ball ricocheted from Lampard’s challenge on Modric to Bent, who calmly tucked a finish under Petr Cech - the first goal Chelsea have conceded this season.

Ashley Cole squirted a shot across the face of goal early in the second half, and it took a superb challenge from Woodgate to deny Lampard in injury time, but there was an alarming lack of penetration about their play, and Spurs were comfortable enough.

Liverpool are still to find anything approaching attacking form this season, and they rarely threatened against Villa, particularly after losing Fernando Torres to a tweaked hamstring.

Indeed, they didn’t manage a single effort on target.

The injury didn’t look overly serious, but he is unlikely to be available for Spain’s World Cup qualifiers at home to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Armenia.

Villa were disappointingly flat as well, and their only real chance came 35 minutes in, as Gareth Barry’s through-ball found Ashley Young.

He cut it back to John Carew, but the Norway striker’s effort was kicked to safety by Pepe Reina.

Shaun Wright-Phillips struck twice on his second debut for Manchester City, as Mark Hughes’s side thrashed Sunderland 3-0 at the Stadium of Light.

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