New Year's fizz goes flat for Spurs and Chelsea
Leicester tightened their grip on second spot
Tottenham and Chelsea slipped up in the Premier League's top-four race on Wednesday but Leicester tightened their grip on second spot during a busy programme of New Year's Day football.
Chelsea remain in pole position to secure the fourth Champions League qualification place but Frank Lampard will rue conceding a spectacular late equaliser in the 1-1 draw against Brighton.
Those dropped points gave Jose Mourinho's Spurs the chance to crank up the pressure on Chelsea and Manchester United but they slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Southampton, while high-flying Wolves went down 2-1 at rejuvenated Watford.
Cesar Azpilicueta gave Chelsea the lead in the early kick-off on England's south coast, tapping in from close range in the 10th minute to put the gloss on their early dominance.
The visitors missed chances to increase their lead but were indebted to goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga for producing a series of sharp saves at the other end.
Brighton scored the goal their persistence deserved in the 84th minute when Iranian substitute Alireza Jahanbakhsh acrobatically found the bottom-left corner with an overhead kick to give his team share of the points.
Chelsea had won all nine of their previous league meetings with Brighton.
"It was frustrating for different reasons," Lampard told BT Sport. "In the first half, the game was there to be won. We weren't ruthless enough. We got the goal and we had the possession. But we just didn't kill the game off.
"We allowed them to stay in the game. In the end it was a wonder goal but we were lucky not to lose the game."
The Chelsea boss said he was concerned about the lack of consistency from his side, who have beaten Tottenham and Arsenal in recent weeks but also lost at home to Southampton.
Tottenham travelled to Southampton with the chance to overtake Manchester United and move three points behind Chelsea but they fell behind to a 17th-minute Danny Ings goal.
Mourinho was given an extra headache with 15 minutes to go, when Harry Kane limped off, clutching his left hamstring.
Leicester appear to have put a mini-slump behind them, beating Newcastle 3-0 courtesy of goals from Ayoze Perez, James Maddison and Hamza Choudhury after their win at West Ham on Saturday.
Brendan Rodgers shuffled his pack once again as he made six changes for trip to the northeast.
Ten-man Watford continued their fine run of form under new manager Nigel Pearson and boosted their hopes of avoiding relegation from the Premier League with a 2-1 home win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday.
Gerard Delofeu and Abdoulaye Doucoure fired Watford ahead before Pedro Neto pulled one back for Wolves, who failed to capitalise on a numerical advantage in the last 20 minutes after defender Christian Kabasele was sent off for the hosts.
Deulofeu opened the scoring with a neat 30th-minute finish when he beat goalkeeper Rui Patricio with a crisp low shot into the far corner after good work by Ismaila Sarr.
Doucoure made it 2-0 in the 49th when he cut inside from the left and found the top corner with a firm drive which clipped Wolves defender Conor Coady and left Patricio stranded.
Neto reduced the arrears on the hour with a heavily deflected effort which sailed over Ben Foster and Wolves piled the pressure after Kabasele was shown a straight red card following a VAR review.
The centre back was originally booked for hauling down Diogo Jota just outside the penalty area but Watford held on in the closing stages to celebrate their third league win coupled with one draw under Pearson. (Wesley put Villa ahead in the 27th minute and captain Grealish doubled his side's advantage four minutes before the break as his powerful effort found the top corner.
Chris Wood pulled a goal back for Burnley with 10 minutes to go but Villa held on to secure all three points.
"It was massive. We've only had one away win all season before this," Grealish told the BBC. "To come here, one of the hardest places in the league, it was well-deserved and well-needed."
Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are hosting Carlo Ancelotti's Everton in one of the early evening matches before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United kick off against Arsenal in the late match.
Runaway leaders Liverpool face Sheffield United on Thursday.
Brighton 1 Chelsea 1
Burnley 1 Aston Villa 2
Newcastle 0 Leicester 3
Southampton 1 Tottenham 0
Watford 2 Wolves 1
Playing on Thursday
Liverpool v Sheffield (11:55pm)
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