Four Premier League matches postponed as United prepare to atone for shock Cup exit.
|Birmingham’s Cameron Jerome shoots and scores as United fail to take advantage [AFP]|
Only two matches were played in the English Premier League after some of the coldest temperatures for more than 30 years in Britain caused seven weekend matches to be postponed.
But of those two matches played, both results left league leaders Chelsea, who had their match at Hull City postponed, clear at the top of the table.
Defending champions Manchester United and Arsenal failed to take advantage when they were held to draws by Birmingham City and Everton.
United came from behind to draw 1-1 at Birmingham and missed an opportunity to top the table, while Arsenal rescued a point when a last-gasp Tomas Rosicky equaliser earned a 2-2 home draw with Everton.
Chelsea sit at the top with 45 points from 20 matches followed by United with 44 from 21 and Arsenal with 42 from 20.
Tottenham Hotspur, who had Sunday’s trip to Liverpool called off, are fourth with 37 points from 20 games.
Manchester United got lucky after a contentious Birmingham own goal salvaged a draw at Birmingham.
At a freezing St. Andrews, Birmingham went ahead in the 39th with their first decent chance.
United failed to deal with James McFadden’s corner, Lee Bowyer headed the ball back across goal and it bounced off Johnny Evans to Jerome, who slotted home from six yards for his fifth goal of the campaign.
|Results & fixtures|
Saturday January 9
Arsenal 2-2 Everton
Postponed due to weather
Burnley v Stoke
Sunday January 10
Postponed due to weather
Liverpool v Tottenham
Monday January 11
Man City v Blackburn
United levelled in the 63rd amid confusion. Dann was under pressure from Park Ji-Sung when he turned a low cross from Patrice Evra past Joe Hart, but the referee’s assistant appeared to have been flagging for offside against Wayne Rooney.
Referee Mark Clattenburg consulted with one of his assistants before awarding the goal, leading to protests from Birmingham players and manager Alex McLeish.
Birmingham believed that defender Scott Dann’s inadvertent goal should not have been given because Wayne Rooney appeared to be in an offside position.
But the draw enabled Birmingham to extend their unbeaten topflight run to a club-record 12 matches.
United ended the match with 10 men after midfielder Darren Fletcher was sent off in the closing stages for a second bookable offence.
At the Emirates, Rosicky’s late goal saved Arsenal as the Londoners missed the chance to move within a point of Chelsea.
The Czech substitute finished off a flowing move with a deflected shot to grab a point for the hosts after Steven Pienaar’s superb breakaway goal 11 minutes earlier looked to have won it for Everton in a second-half snowstorm.
Arsenal had won four and drawn one of their last five league games and crushed Everton 6-1 at Goodison Park on the opening day of the season.
However, David Moyes’ team are enjoying their own good run at the moment and were far tougher opposition this time.
“We played really well and deserved a victory,” Everton manager David Moyes said.
“We had better chances than Arsenal and a lot of possession – we deserved more than a point.”
|Everton’s US striker Landon Donovan makes his chilly EPL debut [AFP]|
The visitors took the lead after 12 minutes when US international Landon Donovan, making his debut after joining on a short-term loan this week, swung over a corner and Leon Osman produced an excellent leap to power in a header.
Arsenal levelled after 28 minutes when Denilson’s 25-metre shot deflected off Osman and beyond wrong-footed keeper Tim Howard.
Everton survived plenty of pressure as the snow made conditions awkward in the second half and then took the lead nine minutes from time when Tim Cahill sent Pienaar clear and the South Africa midfielder beat Manuel Almunia with a cool, dinked finish.
Almunia prevented a third Everton goal with a good save from James Vaughan before Arsenal roared back into the attack as another neat passing move left Rosicky clear and his shot was deflected past the unfortunate Howard.
“We didn’t create many chances and scored two goals from deflections. We are lucky at the moment but I like to think that is because we are showing the right spirit,” said Wenger.
“We dropped two points yes, but we gained a point as were closer to losing than winning,” he said.