Arsenal drew 2-2 at 10-man Wigan, missing a chance to pull even on points with Manchester United and Manchester City atop England’s Premier League. Chelsea defeated Bolton 1-0 at home, and Liverpool lost 1-0 to last-place Wolverhampton.
Arsenal last night fell behind on a Ben Watson penalty in the 18th minute, then Andrey Arshavin and Nicklas Bendtner scored for the visitors in the last 10 minutes of the first half. Wigan, which lost midfielder Charles N’Zogbia to a second-half red card, tied the match when Arsenal defender Sebastien Squillaci headed into his own net.
The result left Arsenal with 36 points after 19 games, one more match than United and one fewer than City, who are even on 38 points. Gunners coach Arsene Wenger made eight changes to the side that beat Chelsea earlier in the week as he tried to rest a team that travels to Birmingham on New Year’s Day and then hosts Manchester City at midweek.
“We are frustrated not to have won the game,” Wenger told the British Broadcasting Co. “We were very good in the first half and not quite so good in the second, but it’s partly because of the number of games we are playing we made so many changes.”
At Stamford Bridge in west London, Chelsea got a 61st-minute goal from Florent Malouda to beat Bolton. It was the Blues’ first league win in seven matches, and moved the team into fourth place. Chelsea lost 3-1 to Arsenal earlier this week.
“The first half was very difficult,” Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti told the BBC. “We didn’t play so well and there was a lot of weight on our shoulders. After two games in two days, we must say that the players did very well.”
Liverpool’s loss was greeted with boos from home supporters as the team dropped to 12th place. Wolverhampton, which moved past West Ham into 19th place with the victory, got a 56th-minute goal from Stephen Ward. That gave Wolves their first Premier League win at Anfield.
“It was a performance way below what we are capable of and what we wanted to give,” Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson told the BBC. “I’d like to give Wolves credit, but I think we were a bit unlucky to lose the game; probably 0-0 would have been a fair result. It was nowhere near our expectations or hopes.”