Monday, March 25, 2019

Arsenal restore pride by beating Reading 2-0

SoccerNews in English Premier League 19 Apr 2008

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Arsenal restored some pride by beating Reading 2-0 on Saturday, though the result will not bother Manchester United who can close in on the English Premier League title with victory at Blackburn.

United beat Arsenal 2-1 last Sunday, a result which killed off the Gunners’ hopes of winning the title, leaving only themselves and Chelsea in the hunt.

But Arsenal, who will be trophyless this season, at least gave their fans at Emirates Stadium something to cheer with a 2-0 win over the Royals.

Emmanuel Adebayor scored in the 30th minute with an assured finish, before Gilberto fired in a deflected shot eight minutes later.

Arsenal striker Robin van Persie was extremely unlucky not to score from a second-half free kick. The curling effort hit both the crossbar and a post before bouncing down just outside the goal.

Later Saturday, league leaders United will take a giant stride towards retaining their title if they beat Blackburn Rovers, who never give visiting sides an easy ride at Ewood Park.

United’s lead at the top of the Premier League was cut to two points by Chelsea after the Blues won 1-0 away to Everton on Thursday.

But victory over Blackburn – managed by former Red Devils striker Mark Hughes – would see Sir Alex Ferguson’s Champions League semi-finalists go five points clear with three games left in the season.

If the contest for the title is now a two-horse race, the battle to avoid the drop into the Championship is less clear-cut.

Basement club Derby County, who play at West Ham on Saturday, have long been doomed but there are several other sides which could yet the fill the two remaining relegation places.

Second-bottom Fulham will hope history repeats itself when they face Champions League semi-finalists Liverpool.

Last season, Reds boss Rafael Benitez used the fixture to give regulars a rest ahead of more important Champions League games and Liverpool lost 1-0 at Craven Cottage.

Wigan took a giant step towards top-flight survival after Emile Heskey’s injury-time goal secured a 1-1 draw away to Chelsea on Monday.

But they have secured clean sheets in their last five home games and will be hoping for another one against Tottenham.

Bolton, third-bottom and occupying the final relegation spot, travel to 13th-placed Middlesbrough.

In Sunday’s fixtures, Birmingham travel to city rivals Aston Villa, Newcastle host Sunderland in the north-east derby, while FA Cup finalists Portsmouth visit Manchester City in their quest for a UEFA Cup spot.

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