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Chelsea, Everton stumble in Champions League chase as Zaha takes a stand

London (AFP) – Chelsea gave the chasing pack in the race for a place in next season’s Champions League hope with a 0-0 draw at Leeds on Saturday, but Everton failed to take advantage as Burnley won 2-1 at Goodison Park. 

Fourth-placed Chelsea remain unbeaten in 12 games since Thomas Tuchel replaced the sacked Frank Lampard and they kept a 10th clean sheet in that run at Elland Road.

However, the Blues have been far from prolific at the other end despite the wealth of attacking talent at Tuchel’s disposal.

“We created enough chances and enough touches in the box to score one or two goals. Unfortunately, we didn’t, so we have to live with a draw,” said Tuchel.

“We were not clinical enough in our counter-attacks. We take a 0-0.'”

Tuchel left strikers Timo Werner and Olivier Giroud left on the bench with Kai Havertz keeping his place as a false nine with and the German had his side’s best chance with a driven effort than Illan Meslier tipped over.

Leeds lost top scorer Patrick Bamford to injury in the first-half, but could have claimed victory themselves as Edouard Mendy made brilliant saves to deny Tyler Roberts and Raphinha.

A point edges Chelsea three points clear of West Ham, who have two games in hand.

Everton are still five points adrift of the top four as they failed to win for the sixth time in seven home league games this year.

Burnley’s bright start was rewarded with a vital three points in their battle to beat the drop. Chris Wood opened the scoring before Dwight McNeil’s sensational strike doubled the visitors’ lead.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson also hit the post for Sean Dyche’s men before Dominic Calvert-Lewin pulled a goal back for Everton.

The hosts lost goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to injury before half-time and a nervy moment from his replacement Joao Virginia nearly gifted Matej Vydra a third early in the second-half.

But Burnley comfortably held out to open up a seven-point gap above the relegation zone.

– ‘Stand tall’ –

Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha became the first Premier League player not to take a knee prior to kick-off of a 1-0 win over West Brom.

The Ivory Coast international stood tall while the rest of his Palace team-mates and their opponents took the knee.

The 28-year-old revealed last month when speaking at the Financial Times’ Business of Football summit that he would no longer perform the gesture against racial injustice, which has been followed by Premier League players, officials and staff since June.

“As a society, I feel we should be encouraging better education in schools, and social media companies should be taking stronger action against people who abuse others online – not just footballers,” Zaha said in a statement.

“I now just want to focus on football and enjoy being back playing on the pitch. I will continue to stand tall.”

Once the action began, Luka Milivojevic scored the only goal from the penalty spot to plunge the Baggies ever closer to a return to the Championship.

Sam Allardyce’s men remain eight points adrift of safety in 19th with just nine games left to save themselves.

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