Man City held by Palace as EPL’s big teams drop points

MANCHESTER (AP) — On a standout day for the Premier League’s underdogs and English managers, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham all dropped points last Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City was held 2-2 by Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace, further boosting Liverpool’s title hopes, after Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham drew 0-0 with Nigel Pearson’s Watford.

Arsenal’s underwhelming form under new manager Mikel Arteta continued in a 1-1 draw with Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United. Chelsea looked headed for a draw until Isaac Hayden headed in to give Newcastle a 1-0 win in stoppage time.

AGUERO NOT ENOUGH

Not even Sergio Aguero’s fearsome goalscoring form could earn City a win over a tenacious Crystal Palace team. With City staring at a possible defeat courtesy of Cenk Tosun’s 39th-minute goal for Palace, Aguero scored twice in the last 10 minutes, taking him to six goals from his last three EPL games. However, Palace wasn’t done and levelled in the 90th when Wilfried Zaha’s ball went in off Fernandinho.

Manchester City’s goalkeeper Ederson and John Stones react after teammate Fernandinho scores an own goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Crystal Palace at Etihad stadium. PHOTO: AP

“I think we did everything,” said City manager Guardiola. “They defended so deep. We knew that, so we attacked – crosses and corners, put the ball inside. They didn’t do much but they win one point.”

Guardiola said City didn’t lack motivation as it dropped points for the eighth time in 23 games during the team’s title defence. “The spirit was there. We tried and we tried,” he said.

CHELSEA BEATEN

On a day of draws, Chelsea looked on target for another point in the day’s last game. But Newcastle had other ideas.

In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Newcastle won a corner to roars from its fans. Matt Ritchie took the set piece poorly, but Chelsea could only clear it to Allan Saint-Maximin, who swung in another cross from deep which Hayden headed in.

Hayden said he wouldn’t normally have gone up for a corner but was on a yellow card, so he thought he couldn’t foul a Chelsea player to cut off any breakaway in a more defensive role.

“I don’t score many in the Premier League – or at all. I think it came off the side of my face,” he said.

Earlier, Ritchie had cleared a Tammy Abraham flick off the line to stop Chelsea taking the lead.

“You don’t always create clear-cut chances against Newcastle – fair play to them, they defend with everything – but we absolutely controlled it,” Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said. “If you don’t score you’re always vulnerable to that sucker punch.”

Of the eight English managers with teams in action on Saturday, only Lampard and Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe tasted defeat. All the others drew except for Newcastle’s Steve Bruce.

FLECK PEGS BACK ARSENAL

With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang suspended, Arsenal lacked the attacking firepower to see off Sheffield United in a 1-1 draw.

John Fleck salvaged a draw for Sheffield with a bouncing shot in the 83rd after two 18-year-olds had combined for Arsenal’s opening goal. Gabriel Martinelli was the scorer, knocking the ball in from close range after fellow youngster Bukayo Saka’s cross was deflected and looped over the Sheffield defense.

However, Arsenal could have built a bigger lead. Martinelli sent two other first-half chances wide, while Arsenal was aggrieved not to be awarded a penalty by the video assistant referee when Jack O’Connell missed the ball and made contact with Nicolas Pepe’s legs in the box.

“He’s an 18-year-old kid with all the enthusiasm but as well he’s so brave to make decisions, to threaten the opponent every time,” Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta said about Martinelli. He added he was “very disappointed” with the result.

Arsenal has won just one of five Premier League games since Arteta took charge last month.

SPURS FRUSTRATED

Dele Alli was left fuming in the Tottenham dugout as last season’s Champions League finalist slipped further away from qualifying for next season’s competition with a 0-0 draw at Watford.

A penalty save by goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga kept Tottenham in the game before a goal-line clearance from Watford’s Ignacio Pussetto stopped Tottenham sneaking a win in stoppage time.

Jose Mourinho’s team last won in the league against Brighton on December 26. The frustration was clear when Alli threw an object to the ground in the dugout after being substituted. Watford is six league games unbeaten and has picked up 14 points from a possible 18 in that time.

Tottenham has not scored in 277 minutes of league action and again struggled to create and finish chances, with top scorer Harry Kane out until April with injury.