LONDON (Reuters) – Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce described it as a wacky night of Premier League action after his side, and Arsenal, salvaged unlikely 2-2 draws and Aston Villa grabbed a priceless last-gasp victory at Watford on Tuesday.
Manchester City cut the advantage of leaders Liverpool to 13 points as substitute Sergio Aguero struck late for a 1-0 win at Sheffield United after Gabriel Jesus had a first-half penalty saved but the real excitement was lower down the table.
Substitute Florian Lejeune struck twice deep into stoppage time for Newcastle at Everton as the hosts seemed to be cruising to victory after Italian striker Moise Kean finally opened his account for the club and Dominic Calvert-Lewin doubled the lead.
“It’s a wacky game that’s for sure — but it’s great,” Bruce, who was missing nine regulars through injury, said. “It just shows you shouldn’t leave a game early.”
His words could have equally applied to an eventuful London derby at Stamford Bridge where Chelsea’s stuttering form continued as they were held by 10-man Arsenal.
Mikel Arteta’s visitors played with 10 men from the 26th minute after former Chelsea title winner David Luiz was sent off for taking out Tammy Abraham and conceding a penalty that was tucked away by Jorginho.
Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli equalised for a battling Arsenal side just past the hour, only for Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta to restore the hosts’ lead in the 84th minute. There was another twist though as Hector Bellerin’s superb equaliser sent the away fans into delirium.
To make matters worse for fourth-placed Chelsea, striker Abraham hobbled off the pitch at the end.
It is only one win in six games for Arteta since taking over but his 10th-placed Arsenal side are displaying the spirit that has been lacking for much of the season.
“The togetherness and leadership they showed today, this is what I wanted to see,” Arteta, whose side are level on 30 points with Newcastle, Everton and Crystal Palace said.
Chelsea are six points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United but a win for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side at home to Burnley on Wednesday would cut that advantage in half.
“In football basic errors can cost you points,” Lampard, whose side have won only two of their last six games, said. “I am pleased to be fourth but we should have a lot more points with the way we have been playing.”
Aston Villa climbed out of the relegation zone as Tyrone Mings was credited with a goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time to seal a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over a resurgent Watford to spark delirium amongst the Villa Park faithful.
Mings did not seem to know too much about it as a shot from Ezri Konsa deflected off him into the net. Troy Deeney had put Watford in front but Douglas Luiz equalised for Villa.
Watford, who had taken 14 points from their previous seven league games, slipped back into the bottom three, level on 23 points with Bournemouth and West Ham United and six more than bottom club Norwich City who visit Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday when the Hammers are at third-placed Leicester City.
“It’s a big win, we know there are big games to come and every game is tough,” Villa boss Dean Smith said.
Watford manager Nigel Pearson added: “Maybe this is a reality check if people thought the hard work had been done and it shows how quickly things can change.”
Bournemouth ended a woeful run of four defeats and 450 minutes without a league goal as Harry Wilson and Callum Wilson were both on the scoresheet in a 3-1 home win over a Brighton & Hove Albion side who are two points above the drop zone.
Only four points separate 19th-placed Watford from Burnley who are in 14th place.
Southampton’s relegation fears have all but disappeared after they beat Crystal Palace 2-0 at Selhurst Park to move into ninth place, three points behind Manchester United.
Nathan Redmond and Stuart Armstrong were on target as Southampton claimed a fourth straight away win.
Liverpool, who have two games in hand of second-placed Manchester City, travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Thursday.