Frank Lampard admits Chelsea face battle for top-four finish after draw at Leicester City

Defender Rudiger scores twice in 2-2 draw, Everton grab late winner at Watford, while Brighton seal controversial point at West Ham

Frank Lampard admitted Chelsea face a fight to finish in the Premier League's top four after Antonio Rudiger's second goal of the game earned a 2-2 draw against Leicester on Saturday.

Rudiger put Chelsea ahead early in the second half at the King Power Stadium before Harvey Barnes and Ben Chilwell scored in quick succession to give Leicester the lead.

A thrilling second half climaxed when Rudiger became the first defender to score a brace for Chelsea in the Premier League since John Terry against Fulham in 2013.

"We were the better team in the first half, in terms of how we moved the ball, and we created some gilt-edged chances. In the second half we weren't so fluid and they created some good chances themselves," Lampard, who dropped goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga for the match a replaced him with Willy Caballero, said.

Frustrated that Chelsea failed to make any signings during the window, Lampard this week claimed his team are now underdogs in the race to qualify for next season's Champions League via a top-four finish.

"We were underdogs at the start of the season," he said. "Not many people gave us the top four slot and I understand why, and it's probably the same now."

The hosts missed the chance to move 11 points clear of Chelsea but remain third, and are well on course to reach the Champions League.

"We should have won having gone 2-1 up. We gifted them two goals really, which we're disappointed with," Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers said. "Against a top team it might be deemed a good result but we should win that game."

Sheffield United temporarily moved up to fifth in the table after winning 1-0 at Crystal Palace, courtesy of a terrible goalkeeping blunder.

Spanish keeper Vicente Guaita mishandled Oliver Norwood's corner and dropped the ball into his own net just before the hour mark.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder said: "It's a huge result today. "We were lucky with the goal, but I thought we were good value for the win.

Manchester United could overtake the Blades again if they win their late game at home to Wolves

West Ham United slipped into the relegation zone after surrendering a two goal lead as their home match with Brighton finished 3-3.

Issa Diop put West Ham ahead on the half hour, before Robert Snodgrass doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time.

Brighton got back in the game in fortunate fashion when West Ham keeper Lukasz Fabianski's attempted punch clear struck the back of his team mate Angelo Ogbonna and flew into the net.

A Snodgrass thunderbolt looked to have sealed West Ham the points only for Pascal Gross to pounce on some woeful defending to halve the deficit after 75 minutes.

Then, four minutes later, Glenn Murray scored a controversial late equaliser after the ball appeared to hit the veteran's arm before he fired home – but a VAR check decided otherwise.

Brighton manager Graham Potter said: "Glenn is adamant it didn’t touch his arm and when we watched it back we didn’t think it has. He's shown his quality and his professionalism. He's consistently helped us from the side and the bench and you can see how he helped us today."

Theo Walcott hit a last-minute winner as 10-man Everton came from two goals down to secure a 3-2 win at Watford.

The Hornets were flying at 2-0 thanks to goals from Adam Masina and Roberto Pereyra only for Yerry Mina to score twice in first-half stoppage time.

Watford looked the more likely winners after the break – especially after Fabian Delph was sent-off for two yelow cards – only to be caught on the counter-attack late on with Theo Walcott scoring an injury-time winner for Carlo Ancelotti's side.

"Football is so unpredictable," said the Italian manager. "We were looking to go home with a draw because we had 10 men but we did a fantastic counter-attack."

Watford manager Nigel Pearson admitted the defeat was painful for his team. "This is certainly a lesson for us," he said. "It hurts for sure but we will continue to work through it. It's not the end of the world but it's certainly frustrating and annoying."

Bournemouth climbed out of the relegation zone after they held on for a 2-1 win over Aston Villa at the Vitality Stadium.

Two first-half goals in six minutes from Philip Billing and Nathan Ake proved enough to secure all three points, although Bournemouth were reduced to ten men just after half-time when Jefferson Lerma was shown a second yellow card.

Villa pulled one back through with 20 minuteds to go when £8.5m (Dh41.2m) signing Mbwana Samatta became the first Tanzanian to score in the Premier League.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said: "I'm very pleased with today’s effort. It was a great start and 11v11 we were excellent. The sending off changed the game but we did enough to get over the line."

At St James' Park, Newcastle United were held to a goalless draw by bottom club Norwich City, who are now seven points away from safety.

It could have been worse for Steve Bruce's Magpies but for several smart saves from goalkeeper Martin Dubravka who denied Teemu Pukki, twice, and Sam Byram.

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce said: "The most important thing is we haven't played well again, but we haven't been beaten. That's not a bad trait to have in the Premier League."

Updated: February 1, 2020 10:39 PM


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