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Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012

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Priorities: Fulham's Steve Sidwell (right) appeals for offside against Arsenal's Francis Coquelin during their match at Craven Cottage on Monday. Fulham won 2-1. AP

Chelsea moves up after Arsenal collapses late


LONDON — Arsenal was dislodged from the Premier League's top four by Chelsea after a late collapse at Fulham on Monday while its London rival beat Wolverhampton Wanderers to end a four-match run without a win.

Fulham's comeback to secure a 2-1 victory over 10-man Arsenal began in the 85th minute with Steve Sidwell's leveler followed by Bobby Zamora's stoppage-time winner.

Earlier in the day, Chelsea appeared set to drop points when Stephen Ward canceled out Ramires' goal in the 84th minute, but Frank Lampard produced a late goal to secure a 2-1 win.

Chelsea now has a one-point advantage over Arsenal in fourth, but is eight points behind the pacesetters: Manchester rivals City and United.

For Arsenal just capturing one of the four Champions League places is the priority for a club that used to be a regular Premier League title contender.

"We've been working hard all season and haven't got the home results we want, but this caps all our hard work," said Zamora, whose side was routed 5-0 by United two weeks ago. "My ankle and opposite Achilles have been playing up — I've had to have a jab in it to sort it out."

On a frustrating day for Wenger, the pressure eased on his Chelsea counterpart Andre Villas-Boas — thanks to Lampard's late winner.

Chelsea's players made a point of celebrating with Villas-Boas, who has endured a mixed first season in charge.

"It's just part of them showing the unity of the team," said Villas-Boas, whose side lost to Aston Villa on Saturday. "This team is focused on getting the consistency in terms of getting the results. If we go on a winning streak of five or six games, which we are capable of, we can be fighting for this league."

Blackburn's goal was breached twice in the first half by Peter Crouch as Stoke won 2-1 at Ewood Park.

Villa was overtaken by Swansea in 11th place after the Welsh club's 2-1 win in the Midlands ended its search for an away success this season.

Norwich won a battle of promoted sides, coming from behind to beat 10-man QPR 2-1.

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