VIDUKA GUNS DOWN ARSENAL
By Nic Evans
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Ian Harte gave Leeds the lead on the half hour, curling in an accurate free kick whilst the home side were still setting up their wall. Sylvain Wiltord stooped to head in an Ashley Cole cross-shot three minutes later, yet it will be the standard of refereeing that will be under intense scrutiny in the days to come.
Referee Jeff Winter was a busy man in a fully committed game, which had little malice in it, but both sides were on edge and plenty mistimed challenges added to the furore and it was no surprise that two players were sent off for accruing two bookable offences.
However, it was a surprise that it was Leeds that saw both their players being ordered off.
Arsenal started the game on fire, with Robert Pires looking especially in form but after a period of scrappy play, Winter tried to stamp his authority on the game.
Eirik Bakke was first into the book for a challenge from behind on Ray Parlour, although this appeared to be more 'pour encourager les autres' than any particular nastiness on the part of Bakke's challenge.
Three minutes later and Olivier Dacourt followed Bakke into the book after a mistimed challenge on Patrick Vieira, with the Leeds man a deserved recipient of a yellow card following a couple of hefty tackles.
Lee Bowyer became the third Leeds man to be cautioned in the 13th minute for a poor lunge at Lauren and new England international Danny Mills closely followed with a clumsy challenge on Fredrik Ljungberg.
Amid all the flying tackles, a fast paced game was threatening to break out and eventually the first chance of the match saw Tony Adams's bullet header tipped over the bar by Nigel Martyn. A fluent break involving Pires, Thierry Henry and Parlour in the 24th minute created a great opportunity for Sylvain Wiltord but his shot was saved.
Wiltord again went close on 27 minutes but Martyn was once more on hand for Leeds and the keeper's save proved invaluable as a couple of minutes later when Mills burst towards the box and was brought down by a crude challenge, although it was Cole's dangerous play that was penalised.
As David Seaman organised his wall, Harte asked Winter if he could take the free kick and was allowed to do so, curling his shot round a bunch of players and into the corner, an especially embarrassing goal to concede for the England international.
Just three minutes later, Arsenal were level when Cole was given far too much room on the left to fizz in a low cross-shot that Wiltord stooped to place a stunning header past Martyn.
Arsenal looked surprisingly sluggish in defence and almost straight from the kick-off, Viduka could have put the visitors back in front with a great turn and shot which flew just over the bar. The Australian missed a simple back post header that could have put Leeds up at the break but eight minutes into the second half, he atoned for his earlier misses.
Harry Kewell did well down the left, breezing past Lauren before playing the ball inside for Viduka, he easily beat Adams before sending a low shot past Seaman to silence the home fans.
Arsenal unsurprisingly pressed forward in search of an equaliser but were met by stout resistance from the Leeds defence.
Their cause was not helped when Bowyer was sent off with 12 minutes to go for a tackle on Cole, yet despite much pressure Lauren's effort from the edge of the box with five minutes to go was the clearest sight of goal Arsenal got.
Mills also saw red with three minutes to go, again for two bookable offences after a challenge on Cole, followed by kicking the ball against the left back, which Winter saw as ungentlemanly conduct and sent the Leeds star off.
Elsewhere, Finidi George marked his home debut with a brace of goals as Ipswich disposed of Derby County 3-1.
George got his first on the quarter hour mark, with The Rams defence at sixes and sevens, giving the former Mallorca star far too much space on the right and he coolly slotted the ball past Mart Poom.
Three minutes into the second period, Richard Naylor got in front of his marker to knee in his side's second and when George made it three 14 minutes from time with a diving header from a corner the game was over as a contest.
Fabrizio Ravanelli got his second in two games, linking up well with Deon Burton, but it was no more than a consolation, three minutes from time.
At the Reebok Stadium, Michael Ricketts's goal six minutes from the interval proved decisive in Bolton's 1-0 win over Middlesbrough.
Ricketts had looked lively all game before he and Bo Hansen played a one-two which saw the striker place a fine shot into the corner of the goal.
The visitors were unfortunate not to go into the break on level terms when Paul Ince's fine run and cross saw Brian Deane's header superbly blocked by Gundi Bergsson but a tight second period saw neither side manage to add to their tally and Bolton top the Premiership table with six points from two games.
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