Villa hold Chelsea

London, January 3:

Chelsea failed to gain ground on Premier League leader Manchester United, settling for a 0-0 draw at Aston Villa on Tuesday.

Chelsea had the majority of chances at Villa Park but failed to score in a league game for the first time all season and remained six points behind United, which drew 2-2 at Newcastle on Monday.

United leads with 54 points. Liverpool is third with 40, ahead of Arsenal on goal difference after the Gunners thrashed Charlton 4-0 at Emirates Stadium.

Didier Drogba should have put Chelsea ahead in the eighth, but the Ivory Coast striker miss-timed his volley off Michael Essien’s cross, driving it over the crossbar. Ashley Cole directed a first-half header into goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly’s hands, and as Chelsea applied the pressure through the last 10 minutes, Frank Lampard put his shot from inside the penalty area over the bar. The Blues defensive woes continued in the 34th when Khalid Boulahrouz limped off with an apparent ankle injury.

For Arsenal, Thierry Henry scored the winner and set up another in his first game since November. The Gunners captain put Arsenal ahead in the 29th minute from the penalty spot after fullback Osei Sankofa was shown a red card for a foul on Robin van Persie. Henry then played Justin Hoyte through in the 45th for the defender’s first goal as a Gunner. Van Persie completed the rout over 10-man Charlton with another penalty in the 74th.

Arsenal had lost only one league game in seven during Henry’s absence. The loss was Charlton manager Alan Pardew’s first in three games since taking over the Addicks on December 24.