Boro all at sea against Chelsea

Associated Press

London, January 5:

Didier Drogba scored twice in the first 17 minutes and Chelsea boosted its lead to seven points atop the English Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. While Chelsea stretched its unbeaten string to 13, Manchester United escaped with a 0-0 draw against Tottenham after referee Mark Clattenburg declined to allow an 89th-minute goal that television replays clearly indicated crossed the line. The disputed non-goal came when Man United keeper Roy Carroll allowed a long-range shot from Pedro Mendes slip through his hands.

He scrambled to retrieve the ball, but not before it was about a metre over the line.

Tottenham manager Martin Jol called the disallowed goal “a disgrace.” Arsenal also settled for a draw - 1-1 at Highbury against Manchester City. Freddie Ljungberg got the equaliser for the Gunners in the 75th to salvage a point after Shaun Wright-Phillips scored in the 31st. With 16 games to play, the results improved Chelsea to 55 points, seven more than Arsenal and 11 better than Manchester United. Fourth-place Everton is 12 back with 43 points. Man United manager Alex Ferguson also acknowledged Mendes’ shot was a goal and called for more technology. In two other Premier League games, it was: Birmingham City 1, Bolton 2; Everton 2, Portsmouth 1.

Drogba’s goals in the 15th and 17th minutes gave him nine this season for the Blues.

He eluded former England defender Gareth Southgate and scored his first from just inside the penalty area. The second came on a header off a free kick from Frank Lampard.

Fourth-place Everton beat Portsmouth 2-1 on a second-half injury-time goal from Leon Osman. Alan Stubbs gave Everton a 1-0 lead in the 29th with Aiyegbeni equalising in the 31st.

Everton’s new striker James Beattie, sporting No 8 but wearing street clothes, was introduced before the match. He completed his $11.5 million transfer on Tuesday from Southampton.

Under new English rules, Beattie will be eligible to play in the FA Cup on Saturday at Plymouth. Bolton got its victory on an injury time winner by Kevin Nolan. El-Hadji Diouf gave Bolton a 1-0 lead in the 17th with Matthew Upson equalising in the 66th.