Chelsea Moves to Second Place as Arsenal Blows Lead to Tie 3-3 With Spurs
Arsenal drew 3-3 at Tottenham after blowing a two-goal lead to allow Chelsea to move into second place in English soccer’s Premier League with a 3-1 defeat of Birmingham.
Chelsea and Arsenal have 64 points, six fewer than leader Manchester United, with the Blues in second place and Arsenal third on goal difference. All three teams have five games left.
Rafael van der Vaart scored two goals as Tottenham rallied against Arsenal for the second time this season. In November, Spurs got three second-half goals in a 3-2 win at the Emirates Stadium.
While unbeaten in 16 straight league games, Arsenal’s championship chances have dwindled with five draws in six games.
Spurs are two points behind Manchester City in the race for fourth place and the final spot in the Champions League.
“The season’s still going and the spirit we’ve got is fantastic,” Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp told Sky Sports. “We never give up.”
Theo Walcott opened the scoring for Arsenal in the fifth minute at White Hart Lane when he ran free through the middle to take a pass from Cesc Fabregas and put a low shot past Heurelho Gomes.
The lead lasted two minutes. Van der Vaart fired a shot inside the left post before Arsenal retook the lead in the 12th minute through a shot by Samir Nasri that took a deflection through the legs of Michael Dawson.
Robin van Persie made it 3-1 to the Gunners when he put in the rebound after his header was saved by Gomes.
Tottenham again answered quickly as Tom Huddlestone scored with a shot from just outside the area a minute before halftime.
Van Persie put the ball into the net in the second half, although the goal was disallowed for offside.
Tottenham drew level in the 70th minute on Van der Vaart’s penalty kick after Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny took down Aaron Lennon.
“After going 3-1 down, we’ve got to be happy with that,” Dawson told Sky Sports. “Credit to the lads for showing fire and determination.”
Florent Malouda scored twice and Salomon Kalou got the other goal for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in west London as defending champion moved ahead of Arsenal.
“Six points at this stage with five games to go will not be easy,” Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti told Sky Sports.
Chelsea took the lead after three minutes when Malouda drove Didier Drogba’s flicked pass beyond goalkeeper Ben Foster. Kalou made it 2-0 with a shot into the corner of the net from 20 yards (18.3 meters).
Malouda headed in Ryan Bertrand’s cross in the 62nd minute for his second goal and Sebastian Larsson scored Birmingham’s goal from the penalty spot after David Luiz brought down Matt Derbyshire.
Manchester United, which drew 0-0 at Newcastle two nights ago, visits Arsenal on May 1 and hosts Chelsea seven days later.