LONDON: Chelsea failed to ease the mounting pressure on manager Frank Lampard as Aston Villa came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge on Monday (Tuesday in Manila), as a coronavirus outbreak at Manchester City caused their clash at Everton to be postponed.
Lampard’s men have now won just one of their last five league games to fall six points behind leaders Liverpool in sixth and having played a game more than the champions.
Chelsea also trails Villa on goal difference, despite Dean Smith’s men having two games in hand, and the visitors were well worthy of a point.
“Now it’s a tough moment and you have to fight through it,” said Lampard. “Nobody let me down tonight, everyone worked, we just didn’t quite get the rub of the green.”
Lampard was able to make six changes from the side beaten at Arsenal 48 hours ago.
Olivier Giroud was one of those drafted into the side and the French international proved his worth with a precise near post header from Ben Chilwell’s cross to open the scoring with his ninth of the season.
By contrast, Smith made just one enforced change from the team that played for 45 minutes with 10 men in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Crystal Palace.
But Villa showed no signs of fatigue in the second-half and levelled when Anwar El Ghazi turned home his fifth goal in as many games from Matty Cash’s cross five minutes into the second-half.
Covid outbreak at Man City
For just the second time since the 2019/20 Premier League match season resumed in June, a match was postponed due to coronavirus infections after a spike at City.
The Manchester giants announced on Christmas Day there had been positive tests at the club for players Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus and two staff members.
A further round of tests revealed more positives on Monday, reportedly for three players, leading to the Premier League to agree to City’s request for the match to be called off.
The club’s training ground will now close for an “indeterminate period” with further testing on players and staff to take place before it can reopen.
City is due to face Chelsea away in the Premier League on Sunday and Manchester United in the League Cup semifinals on January 6.