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Saturday, April 3, 1999 Published at 19:44 GMT 20:44 UK


Arsenal held at the Dell

Ray Parlour avoids a David Hughes tackle

Southampton 0-0 Arsenal

Arsenal dropped precious points in their title challenge against a Saints side scrapping like mad to avoid the drop.

The Gunners, without international trio Emmanuel Petit, Dennis Bergkamp and Marc Overmars, tried everything to break Southampton's resolute defence but could not find a way past stand-in keeper Neil Moss.


Five Live's Ron Jones reports from the Dell
The champions did not have things all to themselves, and veteran striker Mark Hughes, searching for his first Southampton goal, wasted a couple of golden opportunities.

The Saints are unbeaten at home since Boxing Day, and may ultimately have to rely on their fixtures at the Dell to survive.

Suspended

They too were without key players - Matt Le Tissier, Chris Marsden and Hassan Kachloul all suspended, while keeper Paul Jones and Matthew Oakley were injured.

The home side could have gone ahead in the second minute when Wayne Bridge robbed Lee Dixon deep in Arsenal territory and forced a save from Seaman.


[ image: Patrick Vieira holds off Wayne Bridge]
Patrick Vieira holds off Wayne Bridge
Egil Ostenstad then had an appeal for a penalty turned down, his cross appearing to strike the arm of Tony Adams and, as the crowd roared their disapproval at the referee, Ostenstad pulled the ball back for Hughes in front of goal only to see the Welshman miscue and hit the post.

Nicolas Anelka was guilty of wasting Arsenal's chance of the half, two minutes before the interval. He was found by Dixon inside the area but his finish was wild.

Dominant

The Gunners picked up the pace in the second half, but found Moss in dominant form.

He made two brave second-half stops at the feet of Anelka, and an excellent save to deny sub Louis Boa Morte.

Nevertheless, Nwankwo Kanu should have allowed Arsenal to close the gap on leaders Manchester United, receiving a pass from Anelka but his weak side-foot effort was aimed straight at Benali with Moss out of position.

Hughes was left to wonder if he is ever going to score for his club when he was denied by a brilliant save from Seaman in the 76th minute.

Hiley picked out the Welshman with an inch-perfect cross from the right and Hughes powered a header on target only to see Seaman hurl himself across his goal-line and parry. The rebound was turned goalward by James Beattie but the flag was up for offside.

Southampton: Moss, Dodd, Colleter, D. Hughes, Monkou, Lundekvam, Ripley, M. Hughes, Ostenstad, Hiley, Bridge. Subs: Benali, Beattie, Monk, Williams, Stensgaard.
Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Winterburn, Vieira, Adams, Keown, Parlour, Ljungberg, Anelka, Kanu, Diawara. Subs: Bould, Vivas, Grimandi, Boa Morte, Lukic.
Referee: P Jones (Loughborough)




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