Toure de Farce for Gunners
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Despite only drawing the game, Arsenal move back to the top of the table above Manchester United but only on goal difference as they title race becomes even tighter.
The Gunners were not on song at all in The Midlands and were jaded, although it also looked as if they would gain all three points when they took the lead after 56 minutes.
Brazilian star Gilberto Silva brought the ball down on the edge of the area and struck a sweet shot which Villa keeper Peter Enckelman could only parry and that gave Freddie Ljungberg the chance to come in from the right and fire into an empty net.
Villa to their credit, though, did not lie down and came back strong and grabbed an equaliser - albeit through unusual circumstances.
They pressed Arsenal and won three corner kicks in a row, the third saw Arsenal clear but they played their way back into the area and substitute Marcus Allback saw his effort bounce towards goal - it looked harmless and simple to clear but Ivory Coast star Toure could only slice the ball inadvertently into his own net.
Manchester United's earlier success means that English two footballing giants are locked at the top of the table and are separated by just five goals.
Chelsea are now firm favourites to claim the fourth Champions League spot after a hard fought win over bottom of the table Sunderland at The Stadium of Light.
The Black Cats realise they are all but down, but new manager Mick McCarthy will be delighted with the effort and commitment showed by his new charges.
Sunderland took the lead on 12 minutes with a spectacular effort from Sean Thornton who volleyed home wonderfully from the edge of the area.
Chelsea were shell-shocked, although it was not an undeserved lead as Sunderland's three-pronged attack of Kevin Phillips, Kevin Kyle and Marcus Stewart caused problems.
The Blues were not to be denied, though and Italian legend Gianfranco Zola levelled matters just after the break with a great volley.
Just a minute later Chelsea thought they had grabbed the lead when Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink scored from an acute angle, although the effort was disallowed much to the Dutchman's disgust.
Claudio Ranieri's men kept battling and grabbed the winner through Carlton Cole with just five minutes remaining.
Substitute Cole turned on the edge of the area and finished brilliantly to hand all three points to Chelsea.
Southampton's push for a Uefa Cup place suffered a setback as they were held to a 1-1 by West Ham United at St Mary's.
The Saints goal came just before the half time interval when the prolific James Beattie converted.
Chris Marsden was the creator as he found room on the left and crossed for England international Beattie to finish well from close range.
Southampton looked on their way to victory, but a defensive mishap gave The Hammers the chance.
A Long throw from Glen Johnson, missed everyone in the area except Jermain Defoe who pounced from close range.
Tottenham moved above Southampton in the table with a 2-1 win over Birmingham City at White Hart Lane.
Spurs took the lead after just seven minutes when Robbie Keane pounced.
The goal came in unusual circumstances as Blues debutant Andy Marriott rolled out the ball as he looked to kick long, but he did not realise the Irishman was behind him and he sneaked up and took the ball off him before firing into an empty net.
Birmingham fought hard and grabbed an equaliser with just 13 minutes left when Gustavo Poyet was penalised for climbing on Christophe Dugarry and Paul Devlin hammered home from the spot.
Spurs though maintained their charge for Europe with a late goal and it was Poyet who redeemed himself when he volleyed home from the edge of the area.
Middlesbrough climbed into the top half of the table and maintained their faint Uefa Cup hopes with a comfortable 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at The Riverside.
Malcolm Christie grabbed his third goal in a Boro shirt when he pounced after 36 minutes to give The Teessiders a half time lead.
The North East club dominated the proceedings, but could not finish off a host of chances.
Brazilian superstar Juninho hit the crossbar with an overhead kick, before Middlesbrough grabbed a second.
Jonathan Greening played a one-two with Juninho on the edge of the area and he finished well past Russell Hoult.
Boro wrapped up their win just a few minutes from time when Slovakian substitute Szilard Nemeth broke into the box and produced a cool finish.
Leeds' game with Charlton was delayed by 15 minutes at The Valley but it did them no harm as they recorded an incredible 6-1 win.
The Yorkshire side had began the day fourth from bottom following Bolton's win in the morning, but they soon put any relegation fears behind them when Harry Kewell fired them in front after 12 minutes.
Ian Harte doubled their lead from the penalty spot on 34 minutes after Richard Rufus fouled Alan Smith.
Mark Viduka made it 3-0 after Smith headed down, but Charlton maintained a glimmer of hope as Jason Euell fired home a penalty on the stroke of half time.
Viduka then grabbed his second as he was once again set up by Smith, before the Australian completed his hat-trick when another penalty was awarded - the third of the game.
Leeds, though, were not finished and they saved the best until last as Kewell skipped his way from just inside Charlton half and worked his way towards the edge of the area before curling the ball home.
Click on a link below for a detailed match summary:
Aston Villa 1-1 Arsenal
Charlton 1-6 Leeds
Middlesbrough 3-0 West Brom
Southampton 1-1 West Ham
Sunderland 1-2 Chelsea
Tottenham 2-1 Birmingham
Click here for Premiership table