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Chelsea chases top 4 spot

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Monday, April 09, 2012

LONDON, - Tottenham's top-four status in the English Premier League was weakened by a draw at Sunderland as Chelsea moved closer to a Champions League place by clinching a victory over Wigan in stoppage time yesterday.

Juan Mata's late goal gave Chelsea a 2-1 victory that moved the team two points behind fourth-place Arsenal and three adrift of Tottenham. Harry Redknapp's Tottenham endured a frustrating afternoon as Sunderland held on for a 0-0 draw.

Arsenal is in action this morning hosting a Manchester City side desperate for a victory to keep the pressure on leader Manchester United, which is five points ahead. Liverpool's league campaign is a face-saving mission following the eighth-place team's worst run in 58 years and Luis Suarez ended a run of three successive losses by salvaging a 1-1 draw against Aston Villa.

There were no changes within the relegation zone with Wigan losing at Chelsea, Blackburn going down 3-0 at West Bromwich Albion and bottom-place Wolverhampton Wanderers losing 2-1 at Stoke. Stamford Bridge witnessed the latest episode in Chelsea's revival, with eight wins in 10 matches now since Roberto Di Matteo replaced Andre Villas-Boas as manager last month.

Despite several chances to the team that beat Benfica to reach the Champions League semi-finals on Wednesday, Chelsea laboured in the first half. And the hosts took the lead in contentious circumstances in the 62nd minute. Branislav Ivanovic appeared to be in an offside position when he knocked the ball into the net after meeting Raul Meireles' throughball, enraging the Wigan team.

Mohamed Diame did level for Wigan in the 82nd with a fierce left-footed strike from distance, but the visitors couldn't hold on for a point that would have lifted them out of the relegation zone.

In the third minute of stoppage time, after Fernando Torres' strike from a tight angle came off the post, Mata pounced to lash the ball into the net from what Wigan manager Roberto Martinez said was also an offside position.


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