Mon, Oct 20, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Henry brings Gunners past Blues

AP , LONDON AND GLASGOW

Arsenal's Theirry Henry celebrates his goal against Chelsea during their English premier league match at Highbury in London, Saturday. Arsenal won 2-1.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Arsenal took the lead of the Premier League Saturday with a 2-1 win over Chelsea, with Thierry Henry's winner gifted by an uncharacteristic goalkeeping blunder from Carlo Cudicini.

The two clubs were evenly-matched until the Chelsea goalkeeper's 75th minute mistake. Cudicini went to scoop up the ball, but it spilled onto the leg of Henry and dribbled over the line for a goal.

Arsenal's win condemned Chelsea to its first league defeat. The Gunners are the only unbeaten club after two months of the season.

Arsenal has 23 points, defending champion Manchester United has 22, with Chelsea dropping from first to third place with 20 points.

Manchester United beat Leeds at Elland Road 1-0 off a headed goal from Roy Keane. Reds defender Rio Ferdinand was jeered by fans at his former club throughout in his first match since being dropped from the England squad for failing to turn up for a drugs test.

In other Saturday results -- Manchester City 6 Bolton 2; Portsmouth 1 Liverpool 0; Fulham 0 Wolves 0 and Middlesbrough 0 Newcastle 1.

Chelsea hasn't beaten Arsenal in the past five years or won at Highbury since the Premier League was formed in 1991.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger felt his side deserved the draw, despite the helping hand.

"I think we used the hand brake in the first half and we needed to speed the game up," Wenger said. "In the second half we did that. I think maybe they were happy with a draw and we were not and that made the difference.

"We won the game on an error, but just before we could have scored two."

The Gunners' opened the scoring in the fourth minute through an Edu 25m free kick which deflected off Ray Parlour and into the bottom corner of Cudicini's net. Three minutes later, Hernan Crespo equalized with a powerful shot into the top right hand corner of Arsenal's goal.

Ranieri said Arsenal deserved the win from its second half performance and had sympathy for Cudicini.

"I said to Carlo 'Don't worry, you've saved a lot of chances for Chelsea and today you were unlucky,'" Ranieri said.

At Elland Road, United had difficulty getting past the determined Leeds defense. The Reds made the breakthrough in the 81st minute when Keane headed a Gary Neville cross into the far corner of the net.

"My players worked really hard, I just wish we could have held out, but all credit to Manchester United," Leeds manager Peter Reid said.

United manager Alex Ferguson praised Ferdinand's performance, saying he didn't consider leaving him out of the team.

"He was fantastic. I can't think of a better performance, particularly coming here, his old club, and the supporters [jeering] every time he got the ball," Ferguson said.

It could be Ferdinand's last game for some time -- the English Football Association is expected to announce sanctions against Ferdinand early next week, including the possibility of a ban of three months or more. Leeds and Manchester United meet again in 10 days time in the League Cup.

Manchester City came from behind to beat Bolton 6-2, with two goals apiece from Shaun Wright-Phillips and Nicolas Anelka and one each from Sylvain Distin and Claudio Reyna. Bolton's goals came from Kevin Nolan and Ivan Campo.

"When we get one or two goals up, we're breathtaking," City manager Kevin Keegan said. "But you've got to earn that right."

Liverpool had a shock 1-0 loss at Portsmouth off a fourth-minute goal from former Red Patrik Berger. It's the first time Liverpool has lost three straight league matches since Gerard Houllier became manager in 1998.

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