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Chelsea fail to regain top spot in England after draw at Newcastle

Chelsea's stand-in captain Didier Drogba was frustrated after having a second-half effort ruled out for handball.
Chelsea's stand-in captain Didier Drogba was frustrated after having a second-half effort ruled out for handball.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • English champions Chelsea come from behind to draw 1-1 at Newcastle
  • Salomon Kalou's 45th-minute goal cancels out Andy Carroll's early opener
  • Carlo Ancelotti's team trail leaders Manchester United by two points after 15 games
  • Tottenham move into fifth place above Bolton with a last-gasp 2-1 win at home to Liverpool

(CNN) -- Chelsea's poor Premier League run continued on Sunday as the English champions dropped points for the third match in a row and failed to return to the top of the table.

The Londoners were deposed at the summit after Manchester United's 7-1 thrashing of Blackburn on Saturday, but could have returned on goal difference with victory away to mid-table Newcastle.

However, Carlo Ancelotti's team could only draw 1-1 as Salomon Kalou earned a point with an equalizer on the stroke of halftime following Andy Carroll's early opener for Newcastle.

That gave United a two-point lead after 15 rounds, leaving Chelsea in second place above London rivals Arsenal on goal difference.

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The match was cleared to go ahead despite the snow that has blanketed the north of Britain in the past few days, with Newcastle's suspension-depleted line-up boosted by the presence of veteran former England defender Sol Campbell for the first time in the league since joining the promoted club in pre-season.

Next week for Terry and Lampard will be important, they will start to train with the team. I hope both will be able to play against Everton
--Carlo Ancelotti
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The home team -- beaten 5-1 by Bolton last weekend -- took the lead in the sixth minute when recent England debutant Carroll took advantage of a mistake by Brazil defender Alex to score his ninth league goal this season.

Alex had a header cleared off the line by Jose Enrique in the 26th minute, and the equalizer finally came as Ivory Coast international Kalou collected a clever pass from Florent Malouda and twisted his way into the penalty area before firing in a deflected shot.

Chelsea piled on the pressure in the second half but the closest they came to scoring was when striker Didier Drogba turned and volleyed in off the post in the 77th minute -- but it was ruled out for a blatant handball by the Ivorian.

Ancelotti said Chelsea hope to welcome back England internationals John Terry and Frank Lampard from injuries ahead of next weekend's clash with Everton, while Ghana midfielder Michael Essien returns from suspension.

"Next week for Terry and Lampard will be an important week, they will start to train with the team. We have all week to control their condition and I hope that both, maybe more John Terry than Lampard, will be able to play against Everton," the Italian told the Chelsea website.

"They are very important, not just as technical players but they have personality, character -- and at this moment we need this kind of player."

Tottenham moved into fifth place above Bolton with a last-gasp 2-1 victory at home to Liverpool as Aaron Lennon scored a stoppage-time winner in the later kickoff.

In the second minute of five added on, the England winger beat Liverpool defender Paul Konchesky to Peter Crouch's flick-on and fired past goalkeeper Pepe Reina to put the London club within a point of Manchester City.

Liverpool remained on 19 points in 10th place, behind Newcastle on goal difference.

Roy Hodgson's team had the best of the first half and took the lead through Martin Skrtel in the 42nd minute when the central defender responded quickest after his header hit the back of teammate David Ngog.

Ngog conceded a penalty on the hour mark when he handled Gareth Bale's free-kick, but substitute Jermain Defoe -- who replace the injured Rafael van der Vaart early on -- was wide of the target as the home side missed a fourth spot-kick this season.

Five minutes later Skrtel put through his own net to give Tottenham hope, with the Slovakian attempting to deny the lurking Crouch the chance to convert Luka Modric's teasing low cross.

England striker Defoe had the ball in the net in the 89th minute, but was in an offside position before volleying in Lennon's header.