Chelsea and City lead pursuit of Arsenal

Sun Dec 1, 2013 5:06pm EST
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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) - Chelsea and Manchester City offered compelling evidence that they will lead the pursuit of leaders Arsenal and champions Manchester United lost further ground on a Sunday that brought the third managerial casualty of the Premier League season.

Jose Mourinho's Chelsea recovered from conceding a goal after 13 seconds at home to Southampton, scoring three times in the second half to win 3-1 and close the gap on Arsenal to four points with a third of the season gone.

Free-scoring Man City are third, two points further adrift, after spanking Swansea City 3-0 to take their home goal tally to 16 in their last three games.

Wayne Rooney equalized twice for United in a 2-2 draw at Tottenham Hotspur which left them nine points off the pace and Liverpool, who began the day in second, endured a miserable afternoon, going down 3-1 at Hull City and hearing that striker Daniel Sturridge will be out for around eight weeks.

Struggling Fulham predictably sacked Martin Jol and Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas, himself in the media spotlight after his team's faltering form, showed the strain with a rant at his post-match news conference.

For the third time this season in the top flight a goal went in after 13 seconds with Jay Rodriguez taking advantage of a Michael Essien error to give Southampton a shock lead at Chelsea.

There was little evidence in the opening half that Chelsea could avoid a first ever home league defeat under Mourinho but they overwhelmed high-flying Southampton after the break.

Defender Gary Cahill equalized on 55 minutes after John Terry's header had been diverted against the post.   Continued...

Tottenham Hotspur's Paulinho (R) challenges Manchester United's Wayne Rooney during their English Premier League soccer match at White Hart Lane in London December 1, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett