Chelsea drop points in race for second

Chelsea's Fernando Torres, right, competes with Newcastle United's Jose Enrique during their English Premier League soccer match at Stamford Bridge, London. (AP)

Chelsea's bid to finish second in the English Premier League suffered a setback after Steven Taylor's stoppage-time header secured a 2-2 draw for visitors Newcastle at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

The Londoners had seen their slim hopes of retaining the title ended by champions Manchester United's 1-1 draw away to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

But Chelsea responded to that disappointment by going ahead as early as the second minute through defender Branislav Ivanovic.

However, Newcastle equalised eight minutes later through Argentina midfielder Jonas Gutierrez.

Chelsea though regained the lead seven minutes from time when a mistake by Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul, who misjudged a Frank Lampard free-kick, allowed Brazilian defender Alex to head in at the far post.

But defender Taylor punished Chelsea's inability to clear a corner by heading in from close range shortly before the final whistle.

Third-placed Arsenal can close to within a point of their capital rivals, with one game of the season left, if they beat Aston Villa in north London later on Sunday.

FA Cup winners Manchester City, who started the weekend in fourth spot, will look to make up ground in the race for a top three place, which spares a side the qualifying round of next season's Champions League, when they play Stoke at Eastlands on Tuesday in a repeat of Saturday's Wembley final.

At the other end of the table, basement club West Ham travel to second-bottom Wigan on Sunday with both clubs running the risk of being relegated with a game to spare.

Sunday's other Premier League matches see Birmingham, only above the relegation zone on goal difference, facing Fulham while Liverpool will clinch a place in next season's Europa League if they beat Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield.

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