Papiss Cisse and Newcastle United deal first blow to Mourinho and Chelsea
NEWCASTLE 2 CHELSEA 1
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho accused the St James’ Park ball boys of taking too long to return the ball after his side’s 2-1 loss at Newcastle United.
Chelsea were bidding to set a new club record of 24 games without a defeat, but Papiss Cisse’s second-half double gave Newcastle the victory and breathed new life into the Premier League title race.
After Newcastle captain Steven Taylor was sent off for picking up a second yellow card, Didier Drogba replied for Chelsea, but the hosts held on to prevent Mourinho’s men from opening up a provisional nine-point lead atop the points table.
Referee Martin Atkinson added on six minutes of injury time, but Mourinho told the BBC: “There could have been 20 minutes’ stoppage time, but the situation would have been the same, because things were happening outside the four lines that the referee couldn’t control.
“The referee can’t punish the ball boy who disappeared with the ball, the referee couldn’t punish the people in the crowd who kept the ball.”
Mourinho felt that his team had lost their “emotional balance” after Cisse’s second goal in the 78th minute, but played down the disappointment of losing an opportunity to complete an unbeaten season.
“I’m not obsessed with records and statistics,” he said. “That’s not for me. I want to win the league.”
STOKE 3 ARSENAL 2
Stoke held on to beat Arsenal 3-2 after a dramatic afternoon at the Britannia Stadium.
The Londoners are the team Stoke relish taking on more than any other and the home fans were in dreamland after Peter Crouch, with the fastest goal of the Premier League season, Bojan Krkic and Jonathan Walters put them three up at half time.
But, after Bojan had a fourth ruled out for offside, Santi Cazorla pulled one back from the penalty spot and two minutes later Aaron Ramsey reduced the deficit further.
There were still 20 minutes to play but the sending off of Calum Chambers for two yellow cards reduced the heat a little and Arsenal could not find a third.
The result brought an end to Arsenal’s run of three successive wins and ended a losing sequence of three for the hosts.
HULL 0 WEST BROM 0
Exactly one month after his first full England call-up, Saido Berahino found himself relegated to a bit-part role as West Brom’s sluggish run of form continued in a tepid 0-0 draw against Hull at the KC Stadium.
A ninth-minute penalty miss from Graham Dorrans summed up another frustrating afternoon for West Brom which Berahino - introduced for the final 18 minutes in place of Victor Anichebe - failed to salvage.
If the result will do little to ease the pressure on their under-fire coach Alan Irvine, neither will it work wonders for Hull, who slid into the relegation zone after this stalemate which extended their own winless run to eight games.
LIVERPOOL 0 SUNDERLAND 0
Brendan Rodgers’ decision to rest Steven Gerrard failed to pay dividends as even the Liverpool captain’s emergence off the bench failed to inspire his side to break down a resolute Sunderland.
Tuesday’s must-win Uefa Champions League tie at home to Basle, followed by a trip to Old Trafford, meant this was a game which was always earmarked for the 34-year-old midfielder to sit out.
In protecting the midfielder’s legs for supposedly greater challenges Rodgers placed the emphasis on those who, in years to come - if not before should Gerrard not agree a new deal by the summer - will have to replace the captain.
They struggled to live up to expectations and, although Gerrard’s appearance with 23 minutes to go lifted his teammates, particularly Raheem Sterling, they still could not find the breakthrough and had to settle for a point in a 0-0 draw.
Only Aston Villa and Burnley have now scored fewer goals at home, where Liverpool have won just three of eight matches.
QPR 2 BURNLEY 0
Charlie Austin scored his eighth goal of the season as QPR beat fellow strugglers Burnley 2-0 and climbed out of the bottom three for the first time since September.
Austin’s close-range finish looked to have a sealed a valuable three points after Leroy Fer had earlier opened the scoring but the striker gave Burnley hope when he was shown a second yellow card with 15 minutes to play.
Burnley squandered a handful of excellent chances in the second half but Sean Dyche’s side lacked cutting edge in the final third and are now just two points off the bottom of the table.
TOTTENHAM 0 CRYSTAL PALACE 0
Tottenham’s poor home form made a worrying return as they stumbled to a 0-0 draw against relegation-threatened Crystal Palace.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side looked to have turned a corner when they overcame Everton last weekend, yet that was followed by a heavy defeat to rivals Chelsea and things did not get much better against the Eagles.
Only wayward finishing and saves from the ever-impressive Hugo Lloris thwarted Palace in their bid to win at White Hart Lane for the first time since 1997.
This was the fifth time in eight Premier League matches that Spurs have failed to win on home turf and the locals let their dissatisfaction known.
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Published: December 6, 2014 04:00 AM