|Chelsea's manager Andre Villas-Boas watches his team ahead of the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns Stadium in West Bromwich, England, Saturday, March 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)|
Chelsea loses again as Arsenal boosts top 4 hopes
LONDON—Chelsea lost to West Bromwich Albion for the first time since 1979 on Saturday when a 1-0 defeat left the Premier League powerhouse in danger of missing out on next season's Champions League.
Gareth McAuley's 82nd-minute goal and Arsenal's 2-1 comeback win at Liverpool left Chelsea three points behind fourth place with one win in its last seven away matches.
"It was very poor in all senses of the word -- in the first half and the second half," coach Andre Villas-Boas said. "We have to do much, much better."
Robin van Persie scored his second goal in injury time to give Arsenal a win at Liverpool, while leader Manchester City tied a team recod with 19 straight home wins by beating Bolton 2-0.
Mario Balotelli added to a first-half own-goal to help take City 20 points clear of a Chelsea side in danger of missing out on the Champions League for the first time since Roman Abramovich bought the west London club in 2003.
Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Juan Mata and Daniel Sturridge all started for Chelsea but the Blues created little and West Brom could have scored before McAuley's goal.
Liam Ridgewell drove Keith Andrews' chip across the area and McAuley diverted the ball past goalkeeper Petr Cech.
"Everyone must do their job better: players, staff and manager," Villas Boas said. "We have responsibility toward the fans of the club."
Sixth-place Newcastle could now draw level with Chelsea at 46 points if it beats local rival Sunderland in one of three games Sunday.
Liverpool's slim hopes of qualifying for the Champions League look to be over after Van Persie's 30th and 31st goals of the season moved Arsenal to within just four points of third-place Tottenham and 10 ahead of the Reds.
Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny saved a penalty and rebound effort from Dirk Kuyt before Liverpool took a 23rd-minute lead through an own-goal by Laurent Koscielny. Van Persie headed in Bacary Sagna's right-wing cross in the 31st and, in the third of eight minutes of injury time, shot past goalkeeper Jose Reina at the near post to end Liverpool's unbeaten home record.
The Gunners' chances of a top-four finish could get another boost Sunday if Tottenham loses to defending champion Manchester United.
United needs a win to stay within two points of City at the top of the table and has not lost any of its last 25 meetings with Spurs.
Also Saturday, last-place Wigan lost 2-0 to Swansea and two goals by Gylfi Sigurdsson. Everton drew 1-1 at Queens Park Rangers and Stoke beat Norwich 1-0.
BERLIN (AP) -- Bayern Munich allowed two late goals to lose 2-0 against Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday and took a serious blow to its Bundesliga title hopes.
Leverkusen had not beaten Bayern in 14 league matches but Stefan Kiessling put the home side ahead in the 79th minute and Karim Bellarabi put the result beyond doubt in the last minute with his first goal for Leverkusen.
Bundesliga leader Borussia Dortmund was scheduled to host Mainz later Saturday, when the defending champion could open a seven-point lead with a seventh consecutive league win.
Bayern dominated the first half despite leaving France winger Franck Ribery on the bench but missed several chances.
Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno saved from Arjen Robben and defender Manuel Friedrich cut out Mario Gomez's goalward shot after Leno was beaten.
Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer produced a great reflex save to deny Kiessling in the 66th, but was helpless to prevent the former Germany international from scoring from close range when Eren Derdiyok flicked the ball on.
The visitors were caught on the break when Simon Rolfes set Gonzalo Castro free on the right. He crossed to the middle where Bellarabi timed his run perfectly to fire to the bottom left corner.
Leverkusen next hopes to overturn a 3-1 deficit to Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Fourth-placed Schalke lost 2-1 at Freiburg and failed to close the gap on Bayern as Freiburg climbed off the bottom of the standings.
Hertha Berlin ended its 12-game winless run with a 1-0 victory at home over Werder Bremen to climb out of the relegation zone.
Stuttgart romped to a 4-0 win at Hamburger SV, Kaiserslautern and Wolfsburg drew 0-0 and relegation-threatened Augsburg drew 2-2 at Hannover.
Forward Andrew Wooten, a member of the U.S. under-23 team, made his Bundesliga debut when he entered for Kaiserslautern in the 68th.
In the German second division, American forward Matthew Taylor scored in the 55th and 62nd minutes to help Paderborn to a 3-0 win at Alemannia Aachen. Paderborn has eight goals this season, but these were just his second and third since July
GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) -- Celtic stretched its lead at the top of the Scottish Premier League to 21 points despite its 20-match domestic winning streak coming to an end with a 1-1 draw at Aberdeen on Saturday.
Anthony Stokes put the league leader ahead in the 28th minute when he rounded goalkeeper Jason Brown and slipped the ball into the net but Gavin Rae equalized just before halftime with a shot that deflected off debut-making Andre Blackman and flew past goalkeeper Fraser Forster.
It was the first goal Celtic conceded in seven matches.
Financially stricken Rangers failed to take advantage of Celtic's rare slip when it lost 2-1 to visiting Hearts.