Chelsea's despair deepens in wake of 3-2 defeat at hands of Newcastle
By Rob Harris ,APLONDON -- Chelsea's week went from bad to worse as Newcastle's French legion of new players inspired a second successive English Premier League victory, and Manchester United established a provisional 10-point lead in the title race on Saturday.
February 4, 2013, 12:00 am TWN
Moussa Sissoko, one of four Newcastle signings from across the English Channel in the January transfer window, scored twice on his home debut to claim a 3-2 victory.
As Newcastle moved further clear of the relegation zone, Chelsea missed a chance to close the gap on second-placed Manchester City, which retains a six-point cushion going into Sunday's match against Liverpool.
And the pressure is being cranked up on Rafa Benitez, whose Chelsea side also drew against relegation-threatened Reading on Wednesday after being held by third-tier club Brentford in the FA Cup on Sunday.
“What I know, what I can see, is the team doing well, working hard, and when we have this advantage we have to manage in a better way,” Benitez said.
Floodlight failure halted United's match at Fulham for 10 minutes before halftime, and after the break Wayne Rooney provided the spark with a crisp finish to clinch a 1-0 win.
“They made it difficult for us,” Rooney said. “We hit the post and crossbar three times. We had to keep going and believe we could get the goal.”
Arsenal won by the same scoreline to go a point behind Tottenham and Everton, who are fourth and fifth respectively.
Everton's pursuit of the fourth Champions League spot was held up by a 3-3 draw against Aston Villa, which missed a chance to climb out of the relegation zone.
Wigan also remains in the danger spots with Villa, although ahead of goal difference, after being held to 2-2 by Southampton.
It was also a frustrating day for bottom-place Queens Park Rangers, which was held to 0-0 by Norwich.
Reading, however, moved two points clear of the bottom three by beating Sunderland 2-1, while West Ham climbed to 10th with a 1-0 victory over Swansea.