Chelsea were denied a victory at Stamford Bridge as Ciaran Clarke headed home a stoppage time equalizer for Aston Villa to level the scores 3-3 in Sunday's English Premier League fixture.
A hard-fought first half ended 1-1 after Frank Lampard opened the scoring from the spot before Ashley Young equalized off another penalty. The game exploded into life early in the second half when Emile Heskey headed in to give Villa the lead. The Blues rallied and equalized six minutes from time through Didier Drogba before John Terry struck a potential winner for the home side. However, the Chelsea defence switched off in the last minute of injury time, allowing Ciaran Clarke an easy header at the back post to earn his team a vital point.
Though Chelsea displayed spirit in the second half, it was two points lost for them as they fell six points behind leaders Manchester United who have a game in hand. Tensions are evident in the Chelsea camp with senior figures, John Terry and Didier Drogba exchanging heated words after the final whistle.
Chelsea have now collected only 10 points from a possible 30 and sit at fifth position in the division prompting manager Carlo Ancelotti to insist his side can still win the title.
It's not over because we are improving and I think we can still have a say on the season, he said. There is a little gap from the top but it is a long season and we can recover. Everything is open at the moment. Firstly, United have to win their game in hand. Obviously we must beat them when we play at Stamford Bridge, and maybe then we can have a bigger say.
He admitted that Villa were the better team before the break but also said he was delighted with Chelsea's reaction in the second half.
I think that we had a fantastic reaction second half, we played very well, with a lot of energy, with a good spirit, he said. And when we thought that the game was won, we lost two points at the last situation. For this reason, I'm disappointed because at this moment, when we needed to win, it was our fault because I think we were not able to maintain concentration until the end.
I'm disappointed because we worked very hard in the second half to come back into the game when 2-1 down. We did a fantastic job, we came back and scored to make it 3-2 and everyone thought the game was finished but a mistake with the last ball of the game cost us.
In Sunday's other fixture, Newcastle United defeated Wigan Athletic 1-0 at the DW Stadium pummeling the Latics to just a point above relegation. A 19th-minute strike from Shola Ameobi proved to be the difference though the lead was rarely threatened. The visitors could have extended their margin of victory had Fabricio Coloccini's and Steven Taylor's headers onto the crossbar gone in.