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Chelsea 2 Arsenal 0

Chelsea 2 Arsenal 0

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First-half goals from Didier Drogba earned Chelsea a 2-0 win over Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Sunday and secured a return to the top of the Premier League two points ahead of Manchester United.

Drogba, who has scored 12 goals in as many appearances against Arsenal since joining Chelsea in 2004, was left unmarked at the far post and simply poked home captain John Terry’s header from a Florent Malouda corner in the eighth minute.

His second came on the break after some sustained pressure from Arsenal, when England midfielder Frank Lampard burst out of his half in the 23rd minute, galloped 20 metres and laid the ball off to the Ivorian on the right of the Arsenal area. The big striker stepped inside Gael Clichy to ram the ball past a stranded Manuel Almunia.

The result, following a 3-1 defeat at home by Manchester United last weekend, leaves Arsenal nine points adrift of Chelsea and seven behind the champions.

Before the goal Chelsea keeper Petr Cech had had to make two saves in quick succession, diverting a ball at Samir Nasri’s feet behind for a corner and blocking a shot from Andrei Arshavin with his feet as Arsenal used the speed of Nasri, Theo Walcott and the tricky Russian to harass the Chelsea defence.

But Arsene Wenger’s team, so energetic in the build up, lacked the final flourish.

They failed to capitalise on a free-kick just outside the area in the 69th minute after subsititute Nicklas Bendtner was brought down by Ricardo Carvalho, Cech pulling off a fine double save. Despite constant moves down the wings, they could not find a way through a defence stubbornly marshalled by Terry.

The Chelsea captain showed no sign of strain despite being stripped of the England captaincy on Friday following a week of lurid press headlines about alleged extra-marital affairs, including one with the former girlfriend of England team mate Wayne Bridge.

“My captain has a fantastic attitude. He’s done very well every game for the team,” Chelsea coach Carol Ancelotti told reporters. “It’s very important to have this leadership.”

SUBDUED WENGER

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger praised Terry’s defensive qualities.

“I give credit to Chelsea for their defending. They have fantastic defenders. I believe John Terry wants to win every time he plays football. Sometimes playing can be a diversion from events off the pitch,” he said.

Almost every touch of the ball by Terry was greeted with boos from Arsenal fans and cheers from the Chelsea support. The 29-year-old flung his shirt into the Chelsea crowd after applauding them following the final whistle.

Wenger watched mostly stony-faced as his side’s title chances ebbed. Arsenal have not won the league since 2004 and last captured silverware with the FA Cup in 2005.

“Against Manchester United we did not turn up. Here, we were completely dominant,” he said. “I always thought we would come back but you have to give them credit,they defended very well. There were lots of tricks from a very experienced team.”

Arsenal were the last side to beat Chelsea at home, in November 2008, under last-but-one Chelsea coach Luis Felipe Scolari.

Since then Chelsea, under temporary coach Guus Hiddink and then Ancelotti, have put together a 36-match undefeated home run, including 23 in the league.

Another former Chelsea coach, Jose Mourinho, whose Inter side face Chelsea in the Champions League later this month, watched the game from the stands.

In Sunday’s earlier Premier League game Birmingham City came from behind at home to beat West Midlands rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 with two goals from substitute Kevin Phillips.

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Liverpool decide against Suarez appeal in race abuse ban

 Liverpool will not be appealing the eight-game ban for their Uruguay international striker Luis Suarez, the English Premier League club said Tuesday.

Suarez received the suspension and a $62,000 fine for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra in a match in October.
Their decision follows the weekend release by the English Football Association (FA) of the findings of its Independent Regulatory Commission.
A detailed 115-page report concluded that Suarez’s evidence was “unreliable” and “inconsistent”, revealing that he had called Evra a “negro” no fewer than seven times in a heated exchange.
Liverpool continued to defend Suarez in a lengthy statement on its official website, claiming the FA had constructed a “highly subjective” case against him, which was “ultimately unsubstantiated.”

Suarez, who joined Liverpool from Dutch side Ajax last season, also protested his innocence in a statement.

“Never, I repeat, never, have I had any racial problem with a team mate or individual who was of a different race or color to mine. Never,” it read.He added: “In my country, ‘negro’ is a word we use commonly, a word which doesn’t show any lack of respect and is even less so a form of racist abuse. Based on this, everything which has been said so far is totally false.”

Suarez’s ban will begin immediately, meaning he will miss Tuesday night’s clash against EPL leaders Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

“I do feel sorry for the fans and for my team mates whom I will not be able to help during the next month. It will be a very difficult time for me,” he said.
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish and his players wore Suarez t-shirts in the warm-up before their match
against Wigan last month, but ultimately the club decided not to prolong the affair.
FA: Suarez evidence ‘unreliable’
“It is time to put the Luis Suarez matter to rest and for all of us, going forward, to work together to stamp out racism in every form both inside and outside the sport,” the statement said.
His absence from the Liverpool line-up will be keenly felt during a critical period as they chase a Champions League place.
Suarez will also miss their League Cup semifinal tie against Manchester City as Dalglish bids to win his first silverware since taking charge last season.

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PSG say LA Galaxy set to retain player

David Beckham: PSG say LA Galaxy set to retain player

David Beckham has decided not to join Paris Saint-Germain for family reasons, according to reports in France.

The former England captain, 36, had been widely linked with a move to the Qatari-owned French club but could now extend his spell in the United States with Los Angeles Galaxy.
“It’s over. It’s a shame,” PSG sporting director Leonardo told L’Equipe.
“But the welfare of his family in LA, the wish not to change everything in his life, weighed heavily.”

Beckham has been weighing up his options since helping LA Galaxy win the MLS Cup in November with a 1-0 win over Houston Dynamo.
Joining PSG would have resulted in Beckham joining forces again with newly-appointed PSG manager Carlo Ancelotti and sporting director Leonardo, having worked with both men at AC Milan during loan spells in 2009 and 2010.

But, as BBC Sport revealed last week, the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star looks like remaining in the US following discussions with his family and business partner Simon Fuller.

It is understood that Beckham’s wife, Victoria, and their four children feel settled in California and are happy to stay.

Beckham’s contract with Galaxy expired on 31 December but the club and Major League Soccer have now offered him a one-year rolling deal.

Crucially, the new contract would include dispensation for Beckham to be part of the Great Britain football team at the 2012 London Olympics, should he be selected.

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