Chelsea was hurt by poor defence in a 5-3 loss at Tottenham on Thursday, dealing a blow to their pursuit of the title as their lead evaporated. In another game Manchester City beat Sunderland in a tough contest to draw level at the top.
Chelsea were hit by excellent play from England Under-21 international Harry Kane, who scored twice and also earned a penalty. This is the first time in José Mourinho's charge that Chelsea conceded five goals. For a side that prides itself on its stingy defence, this loss was embarrassing. And thanks to Frank Lampard's winning goal, Manchester City now have a real chance to wrest the title from Chelsea.
"We made some defensive mistakes," Mourinho said. "Plus we were unlucky in every rebound and deflected shot."
This was Chelsea's first defeat against Tottenham in almost five years. Apart from Kane, Danny Rose, Andros Townsend and Nacer Chandli scored goals throughout the game. The Chelsea defence appeared flustered and uncharacteristically brittle while Tottenham launched waves of fast-paced attacks.
Chelsea and Man City have 46 points and identical records. They are followed by Manchester United (37 points), Southampton (36), Tottenham (34), Arsenal (33) and West Ham (32).
Chelsea managed to score with Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and John Terry, but it was too little, too late.
City's 3-2 win over Sunderland showed how crucial it was to secure Lampard. On New Year's Eve, City managed to hold on to Lampard until the end of the Premier League season. He had been set to join sister club New York City FC for the start the Major League Soccer season in March. The 36-year-old former Chelsea midfielder moved into fourth place on the Premier League's career scoring list with his 176th goal, this one on a header off Gael Clichy's cross.
Chelsea have now secured only one win in five away games. More excitement is in store in the months ahead as the league heads to a thrilling finish. And in Kane, who played his best game yesterday, Tottenham have a new star.
With inputs from Associated Press