Arsenal run continues
By Rui Pires
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Arsenal extended their unbeaten run to 45 games with victory at Craven Cottage.
Second half goals from Freddie Ljungberg, a Zat Knight own goal and substitute Jose Reyes, saw Arsenal past tenacious Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Referee Mark Halsey turned down two penalty claims - one for each side - and disallowed a Collins John effort for pushing as The Gunners rode their luck to claim all three points from this full-blooded
Patrick Vieira, making his first start in an Arsenal shirt this season, took 22 minutes to pick up a yellow card for bringing down former Gunner Luis Boa Morte.
Arsenal started strongly and a characteristic Gunners counter-attack saw Bergkamp feed Henry, who instinctively played in Ljungberg but Edwin van der Sar saved the Swede's effort with his feet.
Boa Morte found some space in the Arsenal area and rifled a shot straight at Jens Lehmann. Pascal Cygan then hooked the ball away as the onrushing Mark Pembridge looked to score from the rebound.
However, there was drama on 35 minutes when Ashley Cole was adjudged to have brought down namesake Andy Cole and the referee pointed immediately to the spot. But, after consulting with both assistant referees, Halsey then changed his mind and awarded a free kick against the home team, much to the Fulham players' disgust.
Arsenal had their own penalty appeal turned down just before half time as Henry was caught from behind by former Gunners defender Moritz Volz.
More controversy followed in first half injury time when Halsey disallowed a John header for pushing Kolo Toure.
John had two chances to break the deadlock just after the break, volleying wide from a Papa Bouba Diop cross before shooting straight at Lehmann when a goal looked more likely.
Fulham were running the champions ragged by this stage when former Manchester United man Cole saw an effort blocked by a combination of Cygan and Lehmann.
The introduction of Reyes for the ineffective Robert Pires changed the course of the match. The Spanish international, the Player of the Month, was immediately involved in Arsenal's first goal.
Operating on the left, Reyes gave the ball into Henry, who sliced open the Fulham defence with a pass to Ljungberg and he placed the ball beyond the keeper and into the corner of the net.
Ljungberg was involved again as Arsenal doubled their advantage on 65 minutes. The Swede collected a pass from Bergkamp in the area, forcing Zat Knight into the own goal as the defender tried to clear.
By this time, Arsenal were totally in control and Reyes himself grabbed The Gunners' third on 80 minutes when he raced onto the end of a Bergkamp ball to coolly beat van der Sar.
Fulham's Cole had two chances to grab a consolation goal for the home side but Arsenal comfortably saw out the game to extend their remarkable run.
|Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||6||6|
|Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||2||5|
|Total Fouls Conceded||17||11|
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