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The BBC's John Murray
"Arsenal's 12th win in a row means it's probably Champions League football for them"
 real 28k

Saturday, 6 May, 2000, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Henry crushes Blues' European dream

Defensive errors leave Chelsea unlikely to make Europe
Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea

Arsenal's Thierry Henry scored twice to virtually assure the Gunners a place in the Champions League and all but deny Chelsea.

Mathematically, their positions could still be reversed, but the odds are heavily against it, leaving the Blues to scramble for a Uefa Cup place in their FA Cup clash with Aston Villa.
Match facts
21 mins: Henry claims his first
48 mins: ... and his second
78 mins: Poyet scores for Chelsea

Arsenal, by contrast, are just two points away from claiming the runners-up spot in the Premiership.

Victory was largely thanks to Henry who continued his amazing striking form to snatch his 24th and 25th goals of the season either side of half time - a tally of 11 goals in his last nine appearances.

Gustavo Poyet - a player with a similarly freakish goalscoring ability - came on after the interval to pull one back for Chelsea, but it was not enough to rescue the points.

An action-packed first quarter-of-an-hour produced a deluge of good chances, the first of which fell for Giles Grimandi, but Tony Adams' long-ball ran on fractionally too far and into the arms of Ed de Goey.

Seconds later, Gianfranco Zola had an open goal from six yards out, but overran the ball and failed to rescue the shot.

Henry strikes

De Goey twice kept Chelsea on level terms as he deflected Ray Parlour's speculative long-shot, then smothered a one-on-one with Henry after the French striker had an uncharacteristic moment of indecision.

Henry was handed an almost identical chance a minute later when Emmanuel Petit's long-ball glanced off Frank Leboeuf, putting the Gunners' most prolific striker onside with just the Blues keeper to beat.

The big Dutchman was alive to the danger and came charging out, but Henry skipped around him and bisected Leboeuf and Marcel Desailly as they covered back, giving the Gunners the lead after 21 minutes.

Chelsea came closest to equalising just before half time when Zola's enterprising charge and lay-off set up Dennis Wise for a scorching angled shot.

Seaman fumbled and Grimandi raced back to clear off the line. The resultant corner came to nothing and Arsenal went into the interval with their lead intact.

Poyet shock

It took Henry just three minutes of the second half to double the advantage in a move that started with Adams' highly physical challenge on Wise.

The ball sprang free to Petit, who quickly shipped onto Dennis Bergkamp and from there to Henry. The Frenchman still had a lot to do, but stood Desailly off in the tackle and tucked the ball under De Goey with customary panache.

Chelsea made two substitutions, bringing on Didier Deschamps and Poyet, and it seemed to have the desired effect of improving the Blues' performance.

Meanwhile, the Gunners seemed content to sit on their lead and let the clock run down.

Torre Andre Flo came within the width of the crossbar of pulling a goal back with his first sniff of strike after 74 minutes, before Poyet made a match of it again with his goal four minutes later.

The Uruguayan chested down Emerson Thome's looping cross into the area and hit it under David Seaman on the volley for 2-1.

A spirited closing five minutes failed to produce any more chances of note as Arsenal move ever closer to the comfort zone.


Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Adams, Grimandi, Silvinho, Parlour, Vieira, Petit, Overmars, Bergkamp, Henry.
Subs: Winterburn, Manninger, Malz, Luzhny, Kanu.

Chelsea: de Goey, Lambourde, Leboeuf, Desailly, Melchiot, Di Matteo, Wise, Morris, Zola, Weah, Flo.
Subs: Deschamps, Poyet, Sutton, Cudicini, Thome. Referee: M Reed (Birmingham)

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