Premiership round-up: Villas-Boas’ woes intensify as Eck’s Villans produce late raid on the Bridge

Chelsea’s habit of conceding late goals returned to haunt them again as a 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa saw them suffer the worst possible end to 2011.

After Steve Kean’s Blackburn had registered their shock win at Old Trafford, another under-pressure Scottish manager, Alex McLeish, also enjoyed a much-needed three points and effectively ended any lingering hopes Chelsea had of getting back into the title race. For the increasingly vulnerable Andre Villas-Boas, the signing of Gary Cahill cannot come quickly enough on the evidence of the final ten minutes, which saw Villa exploit some horrible defending to snatch an unlikely victory, much as Arsenal and Liverpool had done earlier in the season. Former Celtic midfielder Stiliyan Petrov, pictured, and substitute Darren Bent both scored in the final seven minutes, meaning the Blues have now taken just three of the last 12 points on offer and have dropped out of the top four. Didier Drogba’s penalty – his 150th Chelsea goal – had given the home side the lead but Stephen Ireland, who was sanctioned by McLeish after his girlfriend posted a picture of him smoking a hookah pipe on Twitter, made amends by equalising before the late drama.

Scotland outcast Steven Fletcher was on target again as Wolves drew 1-1 with Bolton at the Reebok. Returning Bolton defender Sam Ricketts opened the scoring in the 22nd minute before the in-form Fletcher levelled after the break when he nodded home Matt Jarvis’ free-kick at the far post in the 49th minute.

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Tottenham drew 1-1 against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium to reduce the gap to second-placed Manchester United to six points. Rafael Van der Vaart scored the opener with a close range volley in the first half before Swansea levelled after the break when Scott Sinclair capitalised on a goalkeeping error by Brad Friedel.

Robin Van Persie’s second-half strike gave Arsenal a 1-0 win over QPR at the Emirates after the Gunners missed several chances in a frustrating match. The Dutchman struck home in the 60th minute after Andrey Arshavin played him through on goal with an inch-perfect pass to allow the forward to drill a left-footed shot past QPR keeper Radek Cerny. It was Van Persie’s 35th Premier League goal of 2011, just one short of Alan Shearer’s record for a calendar year.

Stoke drew 2-2 against ten-man Wigan in an all-action game at the Britannia Stadium. Victor Moses put Wigan ahead in the first half before the Latics were reduced to ten men and conceded a penalty when Scotland defender Gary Caldwell was dismissed for deliberate handball in the 76th minute. Jonathan Walters stepped up and converted before Cameron Jerome gave Stoke the lead after a brilliant piece of skill by Peter Crouch. Wigan were level three minutes later when Ryan Shotton fouled Hugo Rodallega in the area, with sub Ben Watson coming on to score with his first touch of the game.

Simeon Jackson’s stoppage-time header earned a point for Norwich as they claimed a 1-1 draw against Fulham at Carrow Road.

Orlando Sa opened the scoring for Fulham in the seventh minute when he wriggled free on the edge of the box and fired past John Ruddy and into the bottom corner of the net. However, Jackson claimed a point for Paul Lambert’s side when he headed home Elliott Bennett’s cross in the fourth minute of stoppage time.