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Saturday, 13 January, 2001, 17:15 GMT
Chelsea fight back for draw at Arsenal
Pires and friends celebrate the Frenchman's goal
Pires and friends celebrate the Frenchman's goal
Arsenal 1-1 Chelsea

A typically fiery London derby ended honours even after John Terry equalised a Robert Pires goal, and, unusually for this fixture, both sides ended with the same tally of players on the pitch too.

Patrick Vieira, however, was on the receiving end for the second week running, with Sam Dalla Bonna and Slavisa Jokanovic both booked for challenges on the Frenchman.

Arsenal were without Tony Adams and Dennis Bergkamp through flu, while Chelsea lined up with an unfamiliar sweeper system, with Dennis Wise and John Harley playing as wing-backs.

In the second half we lost our game and gave away a stupid goal, and I am afraid Manchester United are out of sight and out of mind
  Arsene Wenger

And Wise, whose place at the club appeared in doubt earlier in the week, was caught out in only the fourth minute when Robert Pires cut between him and Sam Dalla Bonna on the left edge of the Chelsea box.

Pires burst into the area and curled a right-footed shot into the far corner of Carlo Cudicini's goal.

Contentious free-kick

But Chelsea almost hit back immediately. The impressive Gustavo Poyet picked out the run of Wise on the right wing, and he returned the favour to the Uruguayan inside the box.

Poyet's first time shot looked destined for the bottom corner, but David Seaman made a crucial double save on his first start after 17 games out through injury.

John Terry was the unlikely hero for Chelsea
John Terry was the unlikely hero for Chelsea
Chelsea had another chance to equalise after 10 minutes when David Elleray awarded a contentious free-kick on the edge of the box.

With Eidur Gudjohnsen preferred to Gianfranco Zola, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink took the kick, but a typically determined Keown blocked the Dutchman's rocket bravely with his backside.

The game continued to bubble and Arsenal again went close on the quarter hour.

Ranieri reshuffles

Pires and Thierry Henry linked up well down the Arsenal left and Henry's cross was desperately cleared by John Terry as Freddie Ljungberg threatened to score.

Henry already has a goal of the season contender with his spectacular strike against Man United at Highbury, and he nearly bettered it on two occasions as he twice stole the ball and took on the Chelsea defence single-handed.

Ljungberg also twice more forced Cudicini into excellent diving saves as Arsenal enjoyed the best of the chances in the first half.

Claudio Ranieri reverted to a back four at half-time, and Chelsea looked a different side in the second period.

Arsenal had already gone close from a corner through Igors Stepanovs when Chelsea won a corner of their own after 62 minutes.

Seaman scare

Wise placed the kick into the Arsenal six-yard box and Seaman missed his punch allowing Terry a simple header to equalise.

The game then entered a scrappy phase as the sides battled for supremacy, with Hasselbaink going closest when he rounded Seaman but took the ball too wide to finish.

It was Claudio Ranieri's decision to change to 4-4-2 and he could see it needed doing from the touchline
  Chelsea's John Terry
Hasselbaink almost produced another moment of embarrassment for Seaman when the Dutchman's blast from a narrow angle almost trickled over the line after the Arsenal keeper had initially blocked the shot.

Dalla Bonna also had a chance to win it when put through by Hasselbaink, but the youngster was unable to control his shot with his left foot.

But Arsenal perhaps had the best chance to take the three points when Thierry Henry turned skilfully on the six-yard line, but was unable to poke his shot past Cudicini.

Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Stepanovs, Keown, Silvinho, Pires, Vieira, Ljungberg, Parlour, Wiltord, Henry.
Subs: Manninger, Malz, Vivas, Cole, Pennant.

Chelsea: Cudicini, Leboeuf, Desailly, Harley, Terry, Poyet, Wise, Dalla Bona, Jokanovic, Hasselbaink, Gudjohnsen.
Subs: de Goey, Le Saux, Ferrer, Zola, Gronkjaer.

Referee: D Elleray (Harrow-on-the-Hill)

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