LONDON: Arsenal’s title ambitions suffered a double blow as a draw at Norwich was compounded by an injury to Alexis Sanchez.
The Gunners could have moved level on points with Premier League top two Manchester City and Leicester but they were held 1-1.
Mesut Ozil opened the scoring only for Lewis Grabban to equalise before half-time and Arsene Wenger’s afternoon went from bad to worse as Sanchez hobbled off with a hamstring problem.
The Gunners boss had already lost defender Laurent Koscielny early on but Sanchez will be a huge miss if he is out for any length of time – with Wenger having admitted the former Barcelona man had felt a “little hamstring alarm” after the midweek win over Dinamo Zagreb.
Norwich battled back from a slow start and deserved a share of the spoils, although Alex Neil will feel his side made enough clear chances to win the game and pull themselves further clear of those scrapping at the foot of the table.
James Milner’s second-half penalty secured a first home league win for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp as they edged Swansea 1-0.
Milner, who scored from the spot in the midweek Europa League win over Bordeaux, fired home in the 62nd-minute to end the wait for an Anfield Premier League victory which stretched back to September 26.
It was certainly not achieved via the “heavy metal” football Klopp has said he favours but sometimes just getting over the line brings its own rewards and occasionally winning ugly is no bad thing – especially when such occurrences have been so rare at home this season.
Victory took the Reds to within four points of a Champions League spot and six behind leaders Manchester City, whom they beat last weekend.
They have a favourable run of matches up until the visit of Arsenal in mid-January and if more good news were needed the returns of midfielder Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge after long absences will add more strength in depth at a particularly busy time.
Diego Costa was dropped as Chelsea andTottenham played out a 0-0 draw which will do little to kick-start the champions’ season.
Costa was an unused substitute as Jose Mourinho lost patience with the striker, but Chelsea’s second away win of the season remained elusive as Tottenham extended their unbeaten run to 13 games.
Both sides had returned from lengthy European trips, with Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino describing the noon kick-off as a “joke” following Thursday night’s 2,500-mile flight from Azerbaijan.
Fluency was lacking in an at-times scrappy contest which lacked moments of real quality.
Hugo Lloris made a fine save to deny Eden Hazard a first goal of the season after Son Heung-min had spurned the best opportunity of the first half following Harry Kane’s cross.
Mourinho will be grateful for a fourth Premier League clean sheet of the season, particularly in the absence of captain John Terry (ankle) and at a venue where Chelsea lost 5-3 on New Year’s Day.
That defeat drew Manchester City level with the Blues at the top of the table, but Chelsea won the title at a canter with a fine second half of the season.
Mourinho’s men are now 14 points behind leaders City and need an unprecedented run just to break into the European places.
Spurs’ unbeaten streak, since the opening-day loss at Manchester United, is their longest since a 14-match run between November 1984 and March 1985.
Rickie Lambert came off the bench to rescue a point for West Brom in a 1-1 draw against West Ham at Upton Park.
The striker had been on the pitch just five minutes as a half-time substitute when his shot deflected in off Hammers defender Winston Reid.
The fortuitous strike cancelled out a superb free-kick from Mauro Zarate which had given West Ham an early lead.
But the Hammers, now without a win in four games, will look back on a host of missed opportunities to stretch their advantage before Lambert pegged them back.