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Aston Villa move five points clear of the drop zone with draw

Craig Noone (left) battles with Fabian Delph
Craig Noone (left) battles with Fabian Delph Credit: PA Wire

Cardiff and Aston Villa played out a goalless draw at Cardiff City Stadium which does far more good for the visitors' hopes of Premier League survival than their hosts.

Cardiff dominated the opening half and struck the woodwork through Fraizer Campbell and a deflected Craig Noone shot, but could not find the net.

Villa offered no threat during the opening 45 minutes but could have taken all three points had Leandro Bacuna and Gabriel Agbonlahor shown better composure in front of goal.

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West Brom hold leaders Chelsea after last-minute goal

West Brom striker Victor Anichebe celebrates his late equaliser
West Brom striker Victor Anichebe celebrates his late equaliser Credit: PA Wire

Victor Anichebe grabbed a late equaliser for West Brom on a night when Jose Mourinho's Chelsea barely looked like potential Premier League champions.

Chelsea were poised to move four points clear at the top of the table on the back of defender Branislav Ivanovic's injury-time strike in the first half at The Hawthorns.

But substitute Anichebe flicked home his third goal of the season in the 87th minute to make it 1-1 and thwart the Blues, who had lost on their last two visits to this part of the West Midlands.

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Aston Villa distances itself from club sale rumours

General view of Villa Park Credit: PA

Aston Villa have distanced themselves from reports owner Randy Lerner is looking to sell the club.

The suggestion at the weekend was that Lerner was looking to recoup a figure of around £200million for a club he bought in 2006 for £62.6m, and after spending £250m on players and upgrading facilities.

But chief executive Paul Faulkner has refuted the speculation and insisted Lerner has no intention of walking away.

Quoted in the Express and Star, Faulkner said:

"I can categorically confirm Aston Villa Football Club has absolutely not been put up for sale and that Randy Lerner is not actively looking to sell the club."

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Villa lose away at Everton after failing to hang on

Aston Villa failed to capitalise on the confidence from their incredible derby win over West Brom in midweek, losing 2-1 at Everton this afternoon.

Leandro Bacuna celebrates scoring the opener at Goodison Park Credit: David Howarth/EMPICS Sport

Leandro Bacuna took the lead for the Villains just after the half-hour mark, scoring his teams seventh goal in their last three league games, after a mistake by Everton's Ross Barkley was capitalised on by Christian Benteke.

Fabian Delph battles with Leon Clarke in the middle of the park Credit: David Howarth/EMPICS Sport

But Everton were the better side for much of the match and they went level with Steven Naismith's equaliser in the 74th minute of play.

Kevin Mirallas celebrates scoring the winner Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Then, with six minutes left of normal time, a stunning freekick from Kevin Mirallas sent the Goodison Park faithful into raptures and sealed the win for the Toffees.

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Joy for Stoke as Adam stuns Manchester United

Charlie Adam delighted Stoke fans with two strikes, one either side of half time, to sink Manchester United at the Britannia Stadium.

Charlie Adam celebrates scoring the winner for Stoke Credit: Nigel French/EMPICS Sport

The Scottish midfielder had got things going in the 38th minute, after his free-kick was deflected in by Michael Carrick and David De Gea could only stand and watch.

Robin Van Persie had levelled the score for United Credit: Nigel French/EMPICS Sport

Juan Mata threatened for the visitors throughout and he set up Robin Van Persie to score the equaliser, two minutes after the restart, after a mistake by Marc Wilson in the Potters' backline. The Dutch marksman finished with aplomb.

Mark Hughes will be delighted to gain a scalp over his old side Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

But Stoke rallied and a stunning strike from Adam was enough to beat the defending Premier League Champions and earn Mark Hughes three points against his old side.

BREAKING: Grant Holt signs for Aston Villa on loan

Aston Villa have signed grant Holt on loan from Wigan Athletic until the end of the season.

Grant Holt has signed for Aston Villa from Championship side Wigan Athletic... Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Villa have been looking for reinforcements, ever since summer arrival Libor Kozak sustained a broken leg in training, putting an end to the 24-year-old Czech international's first season in the England.

The 32-year-old former Norwich hit-man has worked under Villa boss Paul Lambert before, during his spell as manager of the Canaries.

The striker believes his experience will enhance Villa's attacking options through the second half of the season:

"To be able to come back into the Premier League, especially at a club as big as Villa, is fantastic and it's a an opportunity for me to work with the gaffer and his staff again as well... It's a massive opportunity for me personally, an opportunity I couldn’t turn down."

Potters make their mark in January window

Stoke City have made their mark in the January transfer window today, by completing deals for Stephen Ireland and Manchester City's John Guidetti.

Ireland's loan move from Midland rivals Aston Villa has been made permanent, whilst Swedish international Guidetti has signed on loan from Manuel Pellegrini's title-challengers.

Stephen Ireland celebrates scoring for Stoke against Chelsea earlier this season... Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The 21 year-old striker will remain at the Britannia Stadium for the rest of the season and manager Mark Hughes is delighted to have won the race for his services:

“We wanted to try and add different options to our attacking threat and John will certainly do that. He is someone who, if you get him in the right areas, will make the most of opportunities that come his way because he is a natural goal-scorer."

John Guidetti has signed from Manchester city on lon until the end of the current season... Credit: John Walton/EMPICS Sport

Chief Executive Tony Scholes added:

“We have had the deal to bring John in on loan on the stocks for a few days, now but had to convert Stephen Ireland’s loan deal into a permanent deal to free-up another loan. We are delighted to have brought John to the Club and are grateful to Stephen and Villa for their co-operation.”

West Brom without Jones for Southampton clash

Billy Jones in action for West Brom against West Ham last season... Credit: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

West Brom caretaker head coach Keith Downing will be without full-back Billy Jones for his last game in charge.

He will need to cope without the defender, who has had an operation on an injury to his eye.

Goran Popov (neck) is also out, while recent absentees Youssuf Mulumbu and Victor Anichebe are back in training but unlikely to feature.

Downing will revert to his backroom role after the St Mary's trip following the appointment of Spaniard Pepe Mel as head coach this week.

To read the full story and latest squads ahead of the game, click here for ITV Football

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