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Chelsea in urgent need of reinforcements

Chelsea's flickering title hopes faded once more after an insipid 1-1 draw with Fulham in the Boxing Day fixture. The west London derby shouldn't have presented too many problems for local supporters despite the tube strike, but it was the travelling Fulham fans who would have been happier.

Chelsea's attack, led by Didier Drogba, toiled but lacked inspiration. Fulham, marshalled by Danny Murphy in midfield, put up a spirited resistance. After Juan Mata had scored the opener for Chelsea, Clint Dempsey came up with a quick equaliser.

The result means that Chelsea's position in the top 4 can no longer be taken for granted. Manager Andre Villas-Boas will be eager to invest his promised transfer funds in January, with players like Drogba no longer the fearsome attacking force they once were, and Fernando Torres yet to recover the form he showed at Liverpool.

The leaders of the Premier League at Christmas, Manchester City, could only draw 0-0 away to West Bromwich Albion. That allowed Manchester United to draw level at the top with an impressive 5-0 win over Wigan. It was their second successive five goal victory in the league, and Dimitar Berbatov claimed a hat-trick. Wigan were entitled to feel a little aggrieved at the contentious decision to dismiss Connor Sammon for an innocuous swing of his arm.

An early exit from the Champions League seems to have focused United's attention on the Premier League very effectively, and it now looks a two-horse race between them and City at the top.

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