Chelsea draw, Watford stun Gunners

Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet went from zero to hero as Premier League leaders Chelsea were held to a 1-1 draw at Anfield, while Arsenal’s title challenge was torpedoed by Watford’s shock 2-1 win on Tuesday.

Antonio Conte’s Chelsea grabbed the lead in the 25th minute when David Luiz cheekily took a quick free-kick that flashed past Mignolet, who was caught out while he lined up his defensive wall.

Mignolet looked bewildered that the Brazil defender’s effort wasn’t ruled out, but referee Mark Clattenburg allowed Luiz to celebrate his first goal since rejoining Chelsea from Paris Saint-Germain in August.

Georginio Wijnaldum came to Liverpool’s rescue as the midfielder equalised with a 57th minute header from James Milner’s cross.

Costa should have won it for Chelsea in the 76th minute when Joel Matip fouled him in the penalty area.

However, the Spain striker’s spot-kick was pushed away by Mignolet as the keeper made amends for his earlier error.

For just the second time in their last 17 leagues games, Chelsea finished without three points, but the Blues are still nine points clear of second placed Tottenham.

Fourth placed Liverpool, 10 points behind Chelsea, have only won one of their last nine matches in all competitions, but their battling display at least partially eased the pain of Saturday’s FA Cup embarrassment against second tier Wolves.

At the Emirates Stadium, Arsene Wenger was again watching from high in the stands as he served his touchline ban and the Arsenal boss was rocked in the 10th minute when former Tottenham defender Younes Kaboul’s powerful strike deflected in off Aaron Ramsey.

Watford suffered an embarrassing FA Cup defeat at third tier Millwall on Sunday and had gone seven league games without a win.

But the view from the posh seats got even more uncomfortable for Wenger three minutes later as Troy Deeney doubled Watford’s lead with a close-range finish after Etienne Capoue unhinged the Arsenal defence.

Alex Iwobi got one back for Arsenal when the young winger rammed home from Alexis Sanchez’s cross in the 58th minute.

STUNNED

Gunners forward Lucas Perez hit the crossbar in the closing stages, but Watford held on for their first league victory at Arsenal since 1988.

Arsenal are nine points behind Chelsea in third place.

Tottenham missed a chance to close the gap on Chelsea after being held to a dour 0-0 draw by struggling Sunderland.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who lost England left-back Danny Rose to a first half injury, rarely got into top gear in their second successive draw.

Struggling champions Leicester crashed to a third successive league defeat as Sam Vokes’ controversial strike gave Burnley a 1-0 win at Turf Moor.

Claudio Ranieri’s team were shattered when Michael Keane nodded down for Vokes from a corner and the ball appears to hit the striker’s hand before he lashed in from close range in the 87th minute.

Leicester, with just one win in their last eight league games, are now two points above the relegation zone.

Sam Allardyce celebrated his first league win as Crystal Palace manager at the sixth attempt as the lowly Eagles won 2-0 at Bournemouth.

Scott Dann’s 46th minute tap-in from Damien Delaney’s flick on put third bottom Palace ahead and Christian Benteke wrapped up the points in second half stoppage-time.

Fourth bottom Swansea boosted their bid for survival with a 2-1 win over Southampton at the Liberty Stadium.

Alfie Mawson’s 38th minute headed opener was cancelled out by Saints striker Shane Long’s cool finish in the 57th minute, only for Gylfi Sigurdsson to win it for Swansea with a 70th minute volley.

Middlesbrough drew 1-1 with West Bromwich Albion at the Riverside Stadium.

James Morrison put Albion ahead with a long-range strike in the sixth minute, but Alvaro Negredo equalised with a 17th minute penalty after being fouled by Gareth McAuley.

© AFP

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