Arsenal out, Chelsea stumbles to draw in FA Cup
LONDON (AP) -- Arsenal and Chelsea watched their seasons get even worse Saturday, when the Gunners were knocked out of the FA Cup 2-0 by Sunderland and the Blues were held to a disappointing 1-1 home draw by second-tier Birmingham.
The London rivals are out of contention for the Premier League and are struggling to maintain a place in the top four of the English championship, so success in football's oldest knockout competition was more important than usual this season.
But Arsenal is just about certain to go without a trophy of any kind for a seventh straight season after Kieran Richardson's volley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's own-goal.
Chelsea will replay at Birmingham but coach Andre Villas-Boas is still under huge pressure after his team was jeered by fans at Stamford Bridge.
Villas-Boas acknowledged this week that he had lost the support of some players after the west London club slipped to fifth in the Premier League and his team needed a 62nd-minute equalizer from Daniel Sturridge to avoid a humiliating defeat.
"It was a quite poor result of course,'' Villas-Boas said. "1-1 is not what we were expecting but it gives us another chance at Birmingham to continue trying to win the trophy.
"The aggression was there and the desire and ambition, but I think Birmingham matched us today in that sense.''
Birmingham lost captain Stephen Carr to a 12th-minute injury but took the lead eight minutes later when David Luiz and Branislav Ivanovic failed to clear a corner kick, giving David Murphy the chance to smash the ball into the net from close range.
It was only the fourth goal Chelsea conceded in 12 FA Cup matches - a streak that includes the 2009 and '10 titles.
Chelsea missed the chance to level the scores when Birmingham goalkeeper Colin Doyle saved Juan Mata's 22nd-minute penalty, awarded when Wade Elliott fouled Ramires, and the team was jeered off at the interval.
There were some cheers when Villas-Boas replaced the struggling Fernando Torres with Didier Drogba at halftime and even more when Sturridge headed in Ivanovic's cross, but the jeers returned when the coach hauled off Mata to bring on Frank Lampard late on.
At least Chelsea will get another chance in the replay.
Having lost the first leg of its Champions League knockout match 4-0 at AC Milan this week, Arsenal is out of contention for all honors unless it can summon a most unlikely European comeback.
Ahead of Chelsea in the Premier League only on goals scored, Arsenal is 17 points behind leader Manchester City and was comprehensively beaten by Sunderland on Saturday.
Arsenal failed to properly clear Sebastian Larsson's 40th-minute free kick and Richardson volleyed in. Larsson then hit the post with 12 minutes left, with the rebound hitting Oxlade-Chamberlain and rolling over the line.
Thierry Henry - who scored the winning goal in last week's 2-1 Premier League win against the same opponent - ended his loan spell from the New York Red Bulls on Thursday and coach Arsene Wenger made five changes to the team beaten in Italy to no avail.
Also Saturday, second-tier Leicester eliminated Norwich with a 2-1 win at the Premier League club's ground, Everton beat Blackpool 2-0 and Bolton won 2-0 at Millwall.
One-time England striker David Nugent scored a 71st-minute winner to give Leicester victory.
Sean St. Ledger had put Leicester ahead in the fifth minute and captain Wes Hoolahan only scored Norwich's single goal when he equalized from a rebound after goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, the son of former Manchester United great Peter Schmeichel, saved his penalty.
Everton was without Landon Donovan, who missed the final game of his loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy because of the 'flu, but led Blackpool 2-0 after just six minutes through goals by Royston Drenthe and Denis Stracqualursi.
Japanese winger Ryo Miyaichi and French striker David Ngog scored for Bolton.
There are three more FA Cup games to follow Sunday, including eight-time winner Tottenham at third-tier side Stevenage.
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