BRIGHTON: Chelsea consolidated fourth place in the Premier League with a 2-1 win at Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday that became harder work than had seemed likely in the first half. Having won 4-0 at the Amex Stadium last season, they were on course for a repeat after taking a 2-0 lead at the interval. Eden Hazard set up the first goal for Pedro after 17 minutes and scored the second himself before halftime following a defensive error. Brighton came back into contention through Solly March’s goal midway through the second half and Lewis Dunk went close to an equaliser. The home side have not beaten Chelsea in any competition since 1933 but they stayed 13th in the table, nine points clear of the bottom three places. Chelsea moved three points clear of London rivals Arsenal, who were beaten at Southampton. Southampton end Arsenal’s 22-match unbeaten run: A late goal by substitute Charlie Austin gave relegation-threatened Southampton a thrilling 3-2 victory over Arsenal on Sunday in new Austrian manager Ralph Hasenhuettl’s first home game in Southampton. It was the Londoners’ first defeat in 23 games and meant they lost ground on fourth-placed Chelsea, while Southampton moved out of the bottom three. Danny Ings, back after injury, headed two fine goals in the first half from equally good crosses by Matt Targett and Nathan Redmond. In between, Mkhitaryan drew Arsenal level with a header of his own and early in the second half he scored via a big deflection. Yet in the 85th minute Austin, who had come on for the tiring Ings, headed in a cross by Shane Long. The win sent Southampton above Burnley into 17th place while Arsenal remained fifth in the table.Published in Daily Times, December 17th2018.