Soccer

Chelsea's league lead threatened by loss at Crystal Palace

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The Canadian Press
3/29/2014 4:14:08 PM
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LONDON -- The Premier League's most unpredictable title race produced another surprise on Saturday as Chelsea lost at Crystal Palace for the first time since 1990.

Despite the 1-0 collapse after Chelsea captain John Terry headed Joel Ward's cross into his own goal at the start of the second half, Jose Mourinho's side remains top as Manchester City was held to a 1-1 draw at Arsenal.

"We depend too much on other results," Mourinho said, writing off his team's title prospect. "When you depend a little it's possible, when you depend a lot, I don't think it's possible.

"We depend now too much. I don't think now we can win the league."

Liverpool, perhaps? Brendan Rodgers' side is a point behind Chelsea and will go top with a victory over Tottenham on Sunday.

The points tally, though, is deceptive. Although City is third and two points behind Chelsea, the 2012 champions have two games in hand.

The one certainty is the defending champions won't be keeping hold of the trophy, with Manchester United still in seventh despite by coming from behind to beat Aston Villa 4-1.

Southampton, a place behind United but six points adrift, produced a resounding 4-0 victory over Newcastle. In a meeting of relegation-threatened teams, both West Bromwich Albion and Cardiff scored in stoppage time as they drew 3-3.

Stoke's impressive form continued with Peter Odemwingie clinching a 1-0 victory over Hull, the team's fourth success in five matches.

Swansea climbed above Hull into 13th by ending a six-game winless run in the league. Jonathan de Guzman's clinical double and Wayne Routledge's goal produced a 3-0 victory over fellow struggler Norwich.

In the trophy chase, Arsenal's concern will be its return of two points from its last three games -- even if the spirited fight back against City offered hope for the title run-in.

With Arsenal still reeling from a demoralizing 6-0 loss at Chelsea last weekend, David Silva completed a counter-attack to put City in front in the 18th minute.

But conceding early made Arsenal more assertive and Mathieu Flamini turned Lukas Podolski's cross into the net to level eight minutes into the second half.

At Old Trafford, the start of the game had fans looking to the sky when a much-publicized plane flew overhead with a banner emblazoned with "Wrong One - Moyes Out." Just one person, who said he is a United fan, has claimed responsibility for the stunt with no supporters' groups backing the protest.

"The support inside Old Trafford has been terrific and if ever there was a show of support for their football club and for their team, it was today," Moyes said.

But supporters' faith in Moyes was tested when Ashley Westwood put Aston Villa in front in the 13th minute by sending a free kick dipping into the net.

Villa's lead only lasted seven minutes before Rooney sent a header from Shinji Kagawa's cross into the net. And after Leandro Bacuna fouled Juan Mata, Rooney put United in front from the penalty spot before half time.

The lead was extended in the 57th when Juan Mata scored his first United goal since joining from Chelsea in January for 37.1 million pounds (then $61 million), and substitute Javier Hernandez wrapped up the victory in stoppage time.

On the south-coast, Southampton's victory will have offered England coach Roy Hodgson some encouragement for the World Cup -- with three different English scores.

Jay Rodriguez put Southampton in front just before half time and netted the fourth in the 89th after Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana scored.

Crystal Palace Celebrate (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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