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Arsenal Vs Leeds United

Leeds United 1-4 Arsenal

FA Premiership, Elland Road
Saturday, November 1, 2003. Kick-off: 3.00pm

REFEREE
  • Dean

ATTENDANCE
  • 36,491

Arsenal
  • Jens Lehmann
  • Lauren
  • Sol Campbell
  • Ashley Cole
  • Robert Pires
  • Fredrik Ljungberg
  • Edu 71
  • Ray Parlour
  • Kolo Toure
  • Gilberto
  • Dennis Bergkamp
  • Jeremie Aliadiere 77
  • Thierry Henry
SUBS NOT USED
  • Graham Stack
  • Pascal Cygan
  • Sylvain Wiltord

Leeds United
  • Paul Robinson
  • Gary Kelly
  • Zoumana Camara
  • Jose Roque Junior
  • Salomon Olembe player got a red card
  • Jermaine Pennant
  • David Batty player got a red card
  • Seth Johnson
  • Michael Bridges
  • James Milner 45
  • Alan Smith
  • Lamine Sakho
  • Aaron Lennon 61
SUBS NOT USED
  • Scott Carson
  • Ian Harte
  • Michael Duberry
English Barclays Premiership Logo
Leeds United
1
Alan Smith 64
Arsenal
4
Thierry Henry 8 ,33
Robert Pires 17
Gilberto 50




By Richard Clarke

Arsenal maintained their position at the top of the Premiership table with a comprehensive, clinical 4-1 victory over Leeds on Saturday.

Last year, Ars?ne Wenger's side won this fixture by the same scoreline but this was a very different performance. In September 2002, Arsenal were at their fluent, flowing best, today they were more canny, allowing Leeds ample possession before catching them on the break.

The home side started brightly but were stung by Thierry Henry in the eighth minute then Robert Pires seven minutes later. Henry added another just past the half hour and should have completed his hat-trick. He blazed over just before the break, and after Gilberto and Leeds' Alan Smith had made it 4-1, was denied when his goal-bound shot was blocked by Ray Parlour.

Still the performance was solid and professional. Great preparation for Wednesday's Champions League tie with Dynamo Kiev.

As expected there were 11 changes from the side that edged past Rotherham in the Carling Cup last Tuesday.

In fact, Wenger named the team that had brought back a point from Charlton last Sunday. But the entire bench - Jeremie Aliadere, Graham Stack, Pascal Cygan, Edu and Sylvain Wiltord - had figured in midweek. In fact all were scorers in that dramatic penalty shoot-out.

Jermaine Pennant started on the right wing, the on-loan Arsenal midfielder of course facing his best friend Ashley Cole.

It was the home side who had the first chance when Lamine Sakho sent a low shot in the midriff of the diving Jens Lehmann after two minutes. The Frenchman sent a chance flashing across the goal a few minutes later but the flag had gone up for offside.

However as so often happens, when the lowly side can not convert their chances, the higher-placed side make them pay. In the eighth minute a long ball over the Leeds defence caught Saloman Olembe napping and Henry controlled the ball, outpaced his marker, drew the keeper and planted his shot past Leeds keeper Paul Robinson.

The home responded with fire but nine minutes later were caught on the break once more. Freddie Ljungberg broke on the right and fed Gilberto on the edge of the area. The ball got stuck under the Brazilian's feet but broke, rather fortunately, for Pires at the far post and the Frenchman had time to settle himself and strike home his third goal of the season.

Leeds had started the day second from bottom of the Premiership and, after that breakaway salvo, they looked drained of confidence. It got worse when Arsenal struck their third.

Parlour sped up the right and found Dennis Berkgamp in the area. As the Leeds defence backed off the Dutchman had time to assess his options. He chose to prod a shot goalwards. It beat Robinson but smacked off the base of the post. It fell to Henry just inside the area who fired in his second of the game.

The home side were now reeling and the game threatened to boil over for a while. Henry might have completed his hat-trick just before half time but blazed over from 10 yards.

Five minutes after the break, Arsenal struck their fourth. Ljungberg swung over a free-kick, Robert Pires collected the ball on the far side of the area. He fired in a low cross which Sol Campbell miskicked however the ball fell to Gilberto at the far post, who slotted his shot into the net.

Sakho nearly grabbed an equaliser a few minutes later when his shot from the edge of the area was snaffled by Lehmann and, in fairness, Leeds still had their fair share of possession. But they could not do much with it. They gained a chink of light when substitute Aaron Lennon crossed for Alan Smith to score just inside Lehmann's post. He followed that a few minutes later by striking the base of the upright.

But Arsenal were soon back in control. Henry was incredibly denied his hat-trick 15 minutes from time when, after Ljungberg's shot had been blocked, his goal-bound shot hit Ray Parlour who was standing in front of the open net.

Then substitute Jeremie Aliadiere nodded over from a few yards out when presented with a clear chance by Parlour's cross.

It made no difference, the game was well won by then.


 


   MATCH PICTURES 


Thierry Henry gets the goal glut underwayRobert Pires makes it two-nil to the Gunners
Paul Robinson looks on as Henry makes it threeGilberto is congratulated by his teammates
Jermaine Pennant slides in on ThierryPennant with his good friend Ashley Cole




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