Arsenal defeat Blackburn 2-0

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:05 IST

Arsenal won 2-0 against Blackburn Rovers to maintain their nine-point lead at the top of the English Premiership.

Arsenal defeat Blackburn 2-0

Blackburn, England:

Arsenal won 2-0 against Blackburn Rovers to maintain their nine-point lead at the top of the English Premiership. Second-half goals by Thierry Henry from a disputed free kick and Robert Pires ensured Arsenal remain unbeaten in domestic competition this season and gives them 70 points from 28 matches. As elsewhere around England's soccer grounds, the players of Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers observed a minute's silence before kick-off, as a mark of respect for those who died in the Madrid terrorist attacks two days earlier. Among them, Arsenal's recent signing from Sevilla, Jose Antonio Reyes. Once the action was underway, Arsenal soon weathered Blackburn's early pressure and started creating chances of their own, Thierry Henry forcing Brad Friedel to parry away his 20th-minute strike with the defenders appealing in vain for an offside flag. Six minutes later, Henry nicked the ball away from Friedel just as the keeper threw it into the air to kick it. The Frenchman slid the ball into the empty net, only for referee Alan Wiley to rule the goal out for a foul. Just past the half-hour mark, Reyes set off on a run from inside his own half which ended with him hitting a left-footed thunderbolt that flashed just past Friedel's left-hand post. Goalless at half-time then, but Arsenal would break the deadlock in controversial circumstances. In the 57th minute, Craig Short was penalised for this shoulder-to-shoulder challenge on Henry, producing an angry response from the Rovers' defenders. They had reason to be fearful. From a short run-up, Henry curled his free kick past Friedel's despairing dive and inside the post to give Arsenal the lead. Dwight Yorke came off the bench to replace Matt Jansen and almost had an immediate impact, deceiving Ashley Cole before setting up Andy Cole for a cross-cum-shot that eluded Jonathan Douglas. But Blackburn were being stretched at the back and three minutes from time, Robert Pires ended the contest. Patrick Vieira swung a pass out wide to Gilberto, the Brazilian scuffed his shot but it came off the far post and fell nicely for Pires to slam the ball home. So 2-0 it ended, and Arsenal remain nine points clear at the top of the table. (AP)

Topics : Football
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