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Dec 16, 2009

Premier League: Arsenal frustrated, Chelsea clear

Graham Alexander fired an equaliser from the penalty spot as Burnley frustrated Arsenal in a compelling Premier League encounter.

• Tuesday's round-up
• Premier League gallery
• Jolly: Vintage Claret stars

Cesc Fabregas struck early as Arsenal started superbly at Turf Moor, but Thomas Vermaelen's foul on the outstanding Andre Bikey allowed Alexander to equalise. Both sides hit the woodwork - Burnley twice and Arsenal once - and enjoyed a glut of other chances but neither side could find a winner.

A second-half penalty from Frank Lampard spared Chelsea's blushes as bottom club Portsmouth threatened to dent the Blues' title ambitions.

Lampard scored from the spot in the 78th minute after Branislav Ivanovic had been fouled by Marc Wilson as Chelsea ended a four-match winless run in all competitions to restore their three-point lead at the top of the standings.

The strike also ruined former boss Avram Grant's return to Stamford Bridge after Pompey threatened to leave with a point when Frederic Piquionne's 50th-minute effort cancelled out a first-half goal from Nicolas Anelka.

Having promised Liverpool fans he would secure a top-four spot come the end of the season, manager Rafael Benitez knew nothing less than victory against Wigan would do at Anfield. And Liverpool achieved it thanks to a ninth-minute goal from David Ngog and a late second from Fernando Torres, who started the match on the bench.

It was not all plain sailing for the hosts, though, with Jason Scotland hitting the bar with the score at 1-0 and Charles N'Zogbia netting in injury time.

Niko Kranjcar and Jermain Defoe were on the scoresheet to get Tottenham back to winning ways and frustrate Manchester City at White Hart Lane in the clash of the Champions League hopefuls.

The Spurs pair struck either side of half-time for a first win since the 9-1 demolition of Wigan nearly a month ago, with Kranjcar rounding off the victory with his second of the night in injury-time. City only needed to avoid defeat to go on their best unbeaten run since 1977 - but far too many of those games ended in draws and this defeat further dents their top-four aspirations.

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