Dempsey denies Manchester United victory at Spurs; Chelsea beat Arsenal

Clint Dempsey (far left) wheels away after grabbing an injury time equaliser for Tottenham against Manchester United

Story highlights

  • Clint Dempsey's injury time goal denies Manchester United victory at Tottenham
  • USA international strikes in 93rd minute to salvage a 1-1 draw for home side
  • Man Utd now lead Premier League by five points from Manchester City
  • Goals from Juan Mata and Frank Lampard help Chelsea defeat Arsenal 2-1

London may have been gripped by a snowstorm that swept across the capital on Sunday but Clint Dempsey's injury time equalizer for Tottenham Hotspur against Manchester United breathed new fire into the English Premier League title race.

Alex Ferguson's side looked to have been heading for a crucial 1-0 victory after Robin van Persie's first-half header edged them in front but after surviving a second half onslaught right up until the 92nd minute USA international Dempsey struck to ensure a 1-1 draw.

Dempsey's last-gasp effort saw United's lead at the top cut to five points after rivals, neighbors and defending champions Manchester City beat Fulham 2-0 on Saturday but Ferguson was annoyed Wayne Rooney hadn't been awarded a penalty after defender Steven Caulker seemed to trip him.

He told Sky Sports: "I thought we should have had a throw in down our side of the pitch but that linesman never gave us a thing all day. For me it was a poor performance by him. Why he never saw the penalty kick for Wayne Rooney.

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"We remember him well from his time in the Chelsea game when (Didier) Drogba was three yards offside and he gave onside. I thought he had a shocking game today. I'm disappointed in his performance, I really am.

"You are 1-0 up with a minute to go, we were really comfortable at that stage. Tottenham worked their socks off, you've got to give them credit for that and I suppose you can't deny them a point. They kept pumping the ball in the box and they got their reward for that."

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    The game had been in doubt after persistent snowfall cloaked the White Hart Lane pitch in white but once it started Manchester United seized the initiative with the first real chance of the afternoon.

    Tom Cleverley's cross to the far post found Dutch striker Van Persie lurking and he nodded powerfully in at the near post to register his 17th league goal of the season following his big-money move from Arsenal.

    Tottenham almost drew level before halftime but winger Gareth Bale's powerful shot was well saved by David De Gea, after it had taken a slight deflection off defender Rio Ferdinand.

    With the snow still teeming down in the second half Tottenham cranked up the pressure, though they were fortunate not to concede a penalty when Steven Caulker looked to have tripped substitute Wayne Rooney inside the area.

    At the other end De Dea saved superbly from point blank range as Dempsey charged through the middle of United's defence while Bale again went close with another shot that took a nick off Ferdinand.

    But just as it looked like United would hold on to record their 19th victory of the season and restore their eight point lead at the top, Dempsey finished from close range after Aaron Lennon's cutback to ensure a share of the spoils.

    Earlier on Sunday, Chelsea secured only their second home Premier League win under interim manager Rafa Benitez after beating European Champions League rivals Arsenal 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.

    After losing to bottom side QPR and drawing with newly-promoted Southampton in their last two home games the pressure was on Benitez to deliver and his side consolidated third place thanks to goals from Spain international Juan Mata and Frank Lampard.

    Chelsea went in front after just six minutes as Mata controlled and finished precisely past Wojciech Szczesny from Cesar Azpilicueta's pass, with Arsenal claiming a foul from Brazilian midfielder Ramires on Francis Coquelin in the build-up.

    Ten minutes later Arsenal's goalkeeper was shown a yellow card for upending Ramires inside the area before Lampard stepped up to score his eighth league goal of the season, prompting Chelsea's fans to implore owner Roman Abramovich to extend the 34-year-old's contract beyond the end of the season.

    Fernando Torres, preferred to new signing Demba Ba, continued his stuttering form by blasting over from inside the area as Chelsea dominated right up until half time.

    But it was a different story after the interval as Arsenal hit back immediately with Theo Walcott and Per Mertesacker both going close. But England international Walcott eventually found the net, running onto Santi Cazorla pass before firing past Petr Cech just before the hour mark.

    Then Torres again squandered an opportunity to seal the match, overrunning the ball when clean through on goal. He was replaced by Ba and the former Newcastle striker was only denied a fourth goal in Chelsea colours due to a brilliant goalline clearance from Arsenal's Belgian skipper Thomas Vermaelen.

    Despite late chances for Walcott and Vermaelen, Chelsea held on to move four points clear of Tottenham in third, while Arsenal remain sixth, seven points off a Champions League spot.

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger vented his frustration with referee Martin Atkinson after the game. He told Sky Sports: "The referee gave a lot of free-kicks today, and some much less than the Coquelin one. It's frustrating. It doesn't mean we should have conceded the goal but, in the big games, these decisions have big implications.

    "We had a similar start to Man City last week, didn't defend too well and gave them too much incentive. We didn't play well in the first half, but we were much more dangerous in the second half, with a different attitude.

    "Unfortunately we didn't make enough of our corners, free-kicks and the chances we created. That's why we lost the game. It's very damaging for our position in the league and difficult to swallow."

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