Chelsea break drought as Arsenal slip up and Liverpool crash

Friday, 31 December 2010 00:13 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

.London (DPA) Chelsea ended their run of six Premier League games without a win with a 1-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers, while Arsenal could only draw 2-2 at Wigan Athletic.

Arsenal's Theo Walcott (L) scores against Chelsea during their English Premier League soccer match at the Emirates Stadium in London

Liverpool, meanwhile, suffered a humiliating 1-0 defeat at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers that places manager Roy Odgsoon under yet more pressure.

Arsenal would have gone level at the top with a win, but are two points behind Manchester United and Manchester City, with Chelsea two points further back in fourth.

Wolves climbed off the bottom with their win, while Liverpool remain marooned in mid-table.

It was not an entirely convincing performance from Chelsea and a poor first half featured no shots on target and 23 fouls.

They were booed off by their fans, and started the second half with far more purpose. It seemed they had taken the lead after 49 minutes, with Frank Lampard splitting the defence with a superb diagonal pass to Didier Drogba.

He struck the ball first time, but it came back off the face of the post and was cleared.

There was further evidence of what is added by Lampard, who has missed so much of this season through injury, as he laid Michael Essien in with a wonderful return pass after 59 minutes, but the Ghanaian’s shot was weak and easily saved by Jussi Jaaskelainen.

The home side did take the lead two minutes later, though, Essien bursting through two challenges and playing the ball through for Drogba, who was played onside by Michael Ricketts as Bolton pushed up.

Drogba swept into the box and curved a cross to the back post for Florent Malouda to finish.

Bolton responded well, Ricketts firing over when well-placed, Gary Cahill heading just wide and Stuart Holden drawing Petr Cech into an acrobatic tip-over, but Chelsea just about deserved the win.

Arsenal made eight changes from the side that beat Chelsea Monday, and manager Arsene Wenger must soon have been regretting his selection as his side fell behind to a Wigan after 18 minutes.

Charles N’Zogbia went down on the edge of the box under challenge from Laurent Koscielny. The referee Lee Probert deemed it both a foul and inside the box, and Ben Watson fired in from the penalty spot.

Andrei Arshavin levelled six minutes before half-time, volleying in superbly after Nicklas Bendtner’s shot had been blocked.

A minute before half-time, Arsenal had the lead, Arshavin laying in Bendtner, who finished magnificently.

N’Zogbia was then sent off for a head-butt on Jack Wilshere, but nine minutes from time, Sebastian Squillaci headed into his own net as Huge Rodallega returned a corner to the middle.

At Anfield, meanwhile, Hodgson’s reign went from bad to worse as Liverpool lost 1-0 to Wolves.

Stephen Ward ran on to Sylvain Ebanks-Blake’s through-ball to score the only goal after 56 minutes, while Liverpool too often resorted to long balls.