Arsenal drop points at home; Chelsea frustrated by West Ham

Sports Desk, Feb 11 (EFE).- Premier League leaders Arsenal managed only a 1-1 draw Saturday with Brentford hours after Chelsea and West Ham United ended 1-1 in the day’s other London derby.

The Gunners remain 6 points ahead of defending champions Manchester City, who host Aston Villa on Sunday with a chance to cut the gap in half before they face Arsenal at the Etihad next Wednesday.

Mikel Arteta’s men came into Saturday’s game looking to bounce back from successive defeats to Man City (in the FA Cup) and relegation-threatened Everton.

Arsenal set the pace in the first half, yet the best chances fell to Brentford’s Rico Henry, who missed the mark from close range in the 5th minute, and Ivan Toney hit the cross-bar 20 minutes later.

Gabriel Martinelli sent his shot over the bar in the 43rd minute on the hosts’ closest approach before the break.

Martin Odegaard forced a stop from Brentford goalkeeper David Raya in the 51st minute, but the deadlock persisted until the 66th, when Leandro Trossard scored his first goal for Arsenal since coming over from Brighton & Hove Albion during the winter transfer window.

While the goal buoyed the Gunners, the Bees weren’t ready to throw in the towel and Toney equalized in the 74th minute.

Eighth-place Brentford held on to extend their Premier League unbeaten streak to 10 matches.

Three points behind the Bees in ninth are Chelsea, who got a good performance Saturday from Joao Felix, the least-expensive of their January acquisitions, but still had to settle for a draw against West Ham, who are 16th in the table.

Given freedom he never enjoyed with Atletico Madrid, the Portuguese forward is emerging as the key figure in the Chelsea attack, ahead of 100-million-euro-man Mykhailo Mudryk and Enzo Fernandez, who cost the Blues a Premier League-record 12 million euros ($131 million).

Felix put the ball in the net twice in the first half – one goal was ruled out for offside – and stepped up to take free kicks and corners.

The Felix goal that counted came in the 16th minute and Kai Havertz looked to have made it 2-0 six minutes later, but the flag was up and VAR confirmed that the German was offside.

Emerson, a former Chelsea player, brought the Hammers level in the 28th minute and Lukasz Fabianski thwarted Noni Madueke and Felix to keep it 1-1 at the break.

West Ham’s Tomas Soucek scored a potential match-winner with seven minutes left in regulation, only for VAR to rule he was offside and the teams shared the points.

In other results, Newcastle United drew 1-1 with second-from-bottom Bournemouth to remain 2 points ahead of Tottenham Hotspur in the fight for fourth place.

Spurs, meanwhile, lost 4-1 to improving Leicester City, and promoted Fulham beat Nottingham Forest 2-0 to climb to seventh.

EFE jjl-og/dr

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