Arsenal end losing streak, Rooney sinks Leeds

 

Champions Arsenal ended their run of four successive defeats in unconvincing fashion today as an own goal by Steve Marlet gave them a 1-0 win at Fulham.

Tottenham and Chelsea played out a cracking derby draw at White Hart Lane that produced countless chances but no goals.

It left Tottenham still searching for their first home win over Chelsea in 15 years and with only one victory anywhere over their London rivals in 30 meetings.

One long-standing record did go today, however, as17-year-old striking sensation Wayne Rooney gave Everton a 1-0 victory over Leeds United, their first win at Elland Road in 51 years.

Arsenal's victory took them to 26 points, four adrift of leaders Liverpool, who beat West Ham United 2-0 yesterday. Manchester United are third on 22. Chelsea lie fourth and Tottenham fifth, with Everton up to sixth, all on 20 points. Blackburn stay seventh, on 19, after a goalless home draw with Aston Villa.

Arsenal had lost twice in the Champions League and twice in the league and desperately needed to end the run to close the gap on Liverpool.

Manager Arsene Wenger said he was not worried but his side looked a little edgy all afternoon at Loftus Road.

They took the lead in the 31st minute when French striker Marlet attempted to clear a low Thierry Henry corner but managed to slice the ball into his own net. Edwin van der Sar made sharp saves to deny Freddie Ljungberg twice and Henry as Arsenal enjoyed the better of the first half.

They continued to dominate in terms of possession after the break without ever looking particularly threatening.

Fulham, who have now lost three successive league games, created little, though midfielder Sylvain Legwinski was twice denied by David Seaman 10 minutes from time.

It was a totally different game at White Hart Lane where both sides were intent on attack from the start and could each point to plenty of good opportunities.

Ireland striker Robbie Keane headed wide when well placed but Spurs's best chance of the first half was a dipping 20-metre volley by Jamie Redknapp that Carlo Cudicini brilliantly tipped over in the 25th minute.

Chelsea also looked lively, with Spanish midfielder Enrique De Lucas over-running the ball when clean through late in the first half.

Chelsea suffered a blow shortly before halftime when Dutch striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink limped off with what appeared to be a groin strain, Eidur Gudjohnsen replacing him.

Cudicini was at his best again early in the second half, blocking a close range effort by Gustavo Poyet and spectacularly turning over a Teddy Sheringham snapshot.

Chelsea defender Mario Melchiot then glanced a header against the post at the other end, but the chances gradually dried up to leave honours even.

Rooney was the history-maker at Elland Road. The youngforward, whose late strike ended Arsenal's unbeaten run lastmonth, again came off the bench today and within minutes he cut through the Leeds defence and fired a low shot beyond Paul Robinson.

The young goalkeeper had earlier made brilliant saves todeny Tomasz Radzinski and Lee Carsley.

Everton goalkeeper Richard Wright then matched him when hedived superbly to tip Harry Kewell's shot round a post in the 67th minute before Rooney secured Everton's third successive league win. Leeds have not won in their last six league games and are 13th in the standings on 14 points.

Blackburn had the better of the game against Villa butfailed to convert their chances.

Former England striker Andy Cole had a header tipped on to the bar by Peter Enckelman in the second minute and, after Dion Dublin twice went close for the visitors, Ireland winger Damien Duff missed two chances to claim all three points for Blackburn.

In the day's other game, a relegation battle at The Valley,a well-struck shot by Norwegian striker Tore Andre Flo hadSunderland ahead after 15 minutes but defender Gary Rowettbundled in a deserved equaliser for Charlton Athletic 13 minutes from time.

Premiership Results

Blackburn 0-0Aston Villa
Charlton 1-1Sunderland
Fulham 0-1Arsenal
Leeds 0-1Everton
Tottenham 0-0Chelsea