x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Premier League Round-Up: Demba Ba incident 'changed the game'

Rafael Benitez believes challenge on Demba Ba was a red card and also took the momentum away for his team as Chelsea fell to Newscastle United, 3-2

Juan Mata, left, celebrates Chelsea's goal against Newcastle United on Saturday. Scott Heppell / AP Photo
Juan Mata, left, celebrates Chelsea's goal against Newcastle United on Saturday. Scott Heppell / AP Photo

Rafael Benitez, the interim Chelsea manager, believes Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini should have been sent off for breaking former teammate Demba Ba's nose in a five-goal thriller at St James' Park.

The beleaguered Spaniard pointed to Ba's premature departure on his return to Tyneside as the pivotal moment in a game which the Magpies won 3-2 courtesy of Moussa Sissoko's last-gasp strike.

Ba felt the full force of the Argentina international's boot in his face as the pair challenged for a 32nd-minute loose ball, which the striker headed inches wide with the score at 0-0.

Benitez, whose side are now without a win in four games in all competitions, said: "It was a penalty and a red card for me, the incident.

"In the middle of the park, you just carry on and go back from a free kick. In the penalty area, you go back, penalty and red card.

"It changed the game. We lost one player with a broken nose, we had one substitution and we had a great reaction in the second half, but it was not enough."

The defeat left Chelsea 13 points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester United, having played a game more, and Benitez under ever greater pressure.

However, he refused to be bowed by the criticism despite seeing his team fail to hold on to a lead for the second time in four days.

He said: "We are doing a good job in terms of what you can see on the pitch.

"The team is doing well ... working hard and when we have this advantage, we have to manage in a better way."

In other Premier League action from Saturday:

Arsenal 1 Stoke City 0

Arsenal Podolski 77'

Lukas Podolski's deflected free kick earned Arsenal a much-needed win against Stoke City. After securing just five points from as many Premier League matches, Arsenal were in danger of losing ground on the top four going into the game. They looked set for another frustrating day - thanks to an outstanding display by Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic. However, substitute Podolski netted 12 minutes from time.

Everton 3 Aston Villa 3

Everton Anichebe 21', Fellaini 69', 90+3'

Aston Villa Benteke 2', 61', Agbonlahor 88'

Aston Villa threw away a two-goal lead as Marouane Fellaini's second of the match in added time denied them a much-needed win. Paul Lambert's side were 3-1 up with 21 minutes left, but Fellaini scored twice to add to Victor Anichebe's first-half strike and cancel out Christian Benteke's brace and Gabriel Agbonlahor's effort.

Reading 2 Sunderland 1

Reading Kebe 7', 85'

Sunderland Gardner (pen) 29'

Reading once again scored a late goal to take all three points off Sunderland, with two-goal Jimmy Kebe the hero of the day. A late victory over West Brom last month and a brace from Adam le Fondre in a 2-2 draw against Chelsea in midweek had seen Reading make a great start to 2013 and, thanks to Kebe, that continued at Sunderland's expense as they moved away from relegation.

Wigan Athletic 2 Southampton 2

Wigan Caldwell 25', Maloney 89'

Southampton Lambert 64', Schneiderlin 85'

Shaun Maloney salvaged a vital point for Wigan with a 90th-minute equaliser against fellow strugglers Southampton. Gary Caldwell headed Wigan into a 25th-minute lead but Southampton were a constant threat and Rickie Lambert levelled on 64 minutes. Morgan Schneiderlin scored five minutes from time for the visitors but Maloney prodded in from a late corner.

QPR 0 Norwich City 0

QPR's battle for survival suffered another setback with confirmation striker Loic Remy had suffered a groin injury in training, manager Harry Redknapp revealed after the goalless draw with Norwich City. French international Remy only joined the club earlier this month from Marseille.

West Ham United 1 Swansea City 0

Andy Carroll, right, gave his team's fight against relegation a much-needed boost as West Ham beat Swansea to record just their second win of 2013. Making his first start since November, Carroll stole away from his marker towards the end of the second half to head home Mark Noble's corner.


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