World Sports News in Brief

Chelsea, stung by Arsenal defeat, held 1-1 by Villa

Tuesday, 2020-12-29 09:22:53
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Soccer Football - Premier League - Chelsea v Aston Villa - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - December 28, 2020 Chelsea's Kai Havertz in action with Aston Villa's Ezri Konsa. (Photo: Pool via Reuters)
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Chelsea, overhauled by coach Frank Lampard after their weekend loss to Arsenal, battled to a 1-1 draw at home to Aston Villa on Monday (Dec 28) as Oliver Giroud’s first-half header was cancelled out shortly after the break by Anwar El Ghazi.

The result means Villa and Chelsea sit in fifth and sixth place in the table respectively ahead of Tuesday’s matches, with the Midlands club having played two games fewer than the big-spending Londoners.

* The US Anti-Doping Agency said on Monday the recently-passed Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act that will allow the body to oversee a national drug testing program for horse racing signifies a new era in the sport.

* Leicester City moved up to second in the Premier League after a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace when Harvey Barnes cancelled a Wilfried Zaha goal at Selhurst Park on Monday.

* Everton's Premier League match at home to Manchester City on Monday has been called off due to new COVID-19 cases reported at City, the league said in a statement. City returned a number of positive cases for COVID-19 after confirming four positives last week, including striker Gabriel Jesus and defender Kyle Walker.

* Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa missed training on Monday because he is considering his future with the La Liga leaders, a club source said. Costa has struggled to make an impact since returning to the club from Chelsea in 2018. The 32-year-old has six months left on his contract.

* Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta feels frustrated and dejected about his side's faltering season but has the backing of the club's board as he attempts to turn things around. Arsenal upset London rivals Chelsea 3-1 on Saturday to record a first Premier League win in nearly two months, ending a seven-match winless run.

* Manchester United players are in good spirits since their thumping win over Leeds United but must be cautious when they host a "quality" Wolverhampton Wanderers side on Tuesday, according to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. United produced their best performance of the Premier League season when they thrashed Leeds 6-2 last week, with Scott McTominay and Bruno Fernandes scoring two goals each.

* Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman is grateful to Lionel Messi for endorsing his appointment and praising his impact even though they are enduring their worst start to a season in 33 years. Messi said a young team were growing under the Dutchman as they bid to improve on their current fifth place in La Liga, eight points behind leaders Atletico Madrid.

* Six-times champion Roger Federer has withdrawn from the Australian Open as he continues to work his way back to fitness from two knee operations earlier this year, according to a media report on Monday.