Ten-man United held by Birmingham

Manchester United and Arsenal failed to take advantage of Chelsea's inactivity in the snowbound Premier League when they were held to draws by Birmingham City and Everton on Saturday.

United came from behind to draw 1-1 at Birmingham while Arsenal rescued a point when a last-gasp Tomas Rosicky equaliser earned a 2-2 home draw with Everton.

The results left Chelsea, who had their match at Hull City postponed because of the icy weather, clear at the top with 45 points from 20 matches followed by United with 44 from 21 and Arsenal with 42 from 20.

Tottenham Hotspur, who also had Sunday's trip to Liverpool called off, are fourth with 37 points from 20 games. The only other match due to go ahead is Manchester City's home game with Blackburn Rovers on Monday.

Manchester United, knocked out of the FA Cup last week by League One Leeds United, looked to be heading for another defeat at Birmingham.

The home team, who set a club record by stretching their unbeaten run to 12 league games, took the lead through Cameron Jerome after 39 minutes when United failed to clear a corner.

Birmingham more than matched the champions until Scott Dann conceded an own goal after 63 minutes when the visitors pressurised the City defence.

United finished with 10 men after Darren Fletcher was shown a second yellow card for a trip on Jerome six minutes from time.

"We've got to be satisfied with a point because Birmingham are in good form and playing well," United manager Alex Ferguson told ESPN. "(But) I've not seen a softer sending-off for a long time, it was absolutely ridiculous."

Birmingham boss Alex McLeish, who played under Ferguson at Aberdeen in the early 1980s, said: "I am proud of my players. It's been a wonderful journey up to this juncture and I hope we can take it further forward."

His side remained eighth, level on 33 points with Liverpool, but have played one more match.


At the Emirates, Rosicky's late goal saved Arsenal as the Londoners missed the chance to move within a point of Chelsea.

"We played against a very good Everton team who were more dangerous than us for a bigger part of the game," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told reporters.

"We dropped two points yes but we gained a point as we were closer to losing than winning. We had the spirit but we didn't produce the quality we are used to."

Czech substitute Rosicky finished off a flowing move with a deflected shot after Steven Pienaar's superb breakaway goal 11 minutes earlier looked to have won it for Everton in a second-half snowstorm.

Arsenal had won four and drawn one of their last five league games and crushed Everton 6-1 at Goodison Park on the opening day of the season.

However, David Moyes' 12th-placed team are enjoying their own good run at the moment and were far tougher opposition this time.

The visitors took the lead after 12 minutes when U.S. international Landon Donovan, making his debut after joining on a short-term loan this week, swung over a corner and Leon Osman produced an excellent leap to power in a header.

Arsenal levelled after 28 minutes when Denilson's 25-metre shot deflected off Osman and beyond wrong-footed keeper Tim Howard.

Everton survived plenty of pressure as the snow made conditions awkward in the second half and then took the lead nine minutes from time when Tim Cahill sent Pienaar clear and the South Africa midfielder beat Manuel Almunia with a cool, dinked finish.

Almunia prevented a third Everton goal with a good save from James Vaughan before Arsenal roared back into the attack as another neat passing move left Rosicky clear and his shot was deflected past the unfortunate Howard.