ecord in a 1-1 draw with Charlton. Substitute Marcus Bent headed the 59th-minute equaliser on his Charlton debut and Chelsea now top the table by 14 points.
Fifth-placed Arsenal suffered their sixth away defeat of the season, James Beattie’s early strike sealing a 1-0 win for Everton. Twenty-four hours earlier Arsenal snapped up Theo Walcott, the 16-year-old wonderkid, from Southampton, in a deal that could rise to -12 million.
Despite Zimbabwe striker Benjani Mwaruwari impressing for Portsmouth in his last appearance before leaving for African Cup of Nations duty, the South Coast club crashed 5-0 in a relegation six-pointer at Birmingham. Two goals were scored in stoppage-time. The pressure on Newcastle manager Graeme Souness mounted with a 1-0 home defeat by former club Blackburn in front of a 51,000 crowd. But Morten Gamst Pedersen, the Norway winger, clearly used a hand to bundle in the goal.
The Reading players have enjoyed a five-day break in Portugal this week after stretching their unbeaten Championship run to 29 matches with a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace. Sheffield United’s 3-1 home defeat of relegation-threatened Brighton strengthened their hold on the second automatic promotion place, seven points behind Reading.
Gordon Strachan’s Celtic lead the Scottish Premier by 10 points following a 3-1 victory at Motherwell. Substitute Aiden McGeady put Celtic back in front at 2-1, then set up John Hartson’s clincher. Hearts lost ground in second place, Danny Invincible’s goal straight after half-time securing a 1-0 home win for Kilmarnock.
* Two big Premiership clubs from the North-East, Newcastle and Sunderland, face potential banana skins in round 4 of the FA Cup this weekend. Newcastle go to Cheltenham, lying fifth in the bottom division League Two, while Sunderland travel to Brentford, who are fourth in League One. Reading will fancy their chances at home to Birmingham and, in an all-Premiership clash on Merseyside, Chelsea have it all to do against revitalised Everton.Post published in: Zimbabwe Sports News