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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 January 2006, 16:52 GMT
Arsenal 7-0 Middlesbrough
Thierry Henry celebrates
Thierry Henry's brilliant hat-trick saw him equal Cliff Bastin's record of 150 league goals for Arsenal as the Gunners put 10-man Middlesbrough to the sword.

Henry opened the scoring with a superb volley, then Phillippe Senderos powered in a towering header before Henry broke clear to slot home his second.

Robert Pires chipped in, then Gilberto Silva headed the fifth before Henry slotted his record-equalling third.

Doriva was sent off for a second yellow card, before Alexander Hleb's tap-in.

As if Arsenal fans did not have enough to cheer, they were further buoyed as England defender Ashley Cole came on as a 35th-minute substitute - his first appearance since breaking a bone in his foot against Birmingham on 2 October.

The tone of the match was set in the opening minutes, when Freddie Ljungberg forced a good save from Bradley Jones, Jose Reyes shot just wide and Henry's free-kick grazed a post.

It was no surprise when the Frenchman opened the scoring in spectacular fashion on 20 minutes, connecting perfectly with Ljungberg's cross to send a sweet volley into the corner.

Two minutes later, Jones tipped Cesc Fabregas' low shot away for a corner which Reyes directed perfectly towards Senderos, who headed powerfully home.

Henry was in on the act again on the half hour, sprinting clear of the Boro defence to reach Reyes' pass, then coolly sidefooting home past the on-rushing Jones.

And there was still time for things to get even worse for Boro as, in first-half injury time, Pires sent a delicate chip over Jones to make it four.

Arsenal pressed after the break and Henry missed a hat-trick chance when he mis-cued from just outside the six-yard box, then Pires' header into the net was disallowed for a marginal offside.

But the fifth arrived just before the hour as Gilberto rose high above the Boro defence to head in Henry's free-kick.

And Henry got the hat-trick the home fans were willing him to score as he raced clear to slot home - in the process notching his landmark 150th league goal.

Doriva's second booking for a needless tug on Henry only increased Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren's misery.

The visitors offered little throughout the game, although Chris Riggott was unlucky not to score a consolation as he shot hit the bar before Jens Lehmann clawed away Yakubu's follow-up.

Hleb then struck from close range in the dying minutes to notch his first goal for the club and complete a memorable day for the Gunners as they equalled their biggest Premiership win.

  • Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:
    "We played our game and the goals came as a consequence of the quality of our game.

    "Of course, Thierry scored three - and everybody nearly scored!

    "But Reyes contributed with his final balls and the most important thing is that the team plays the game we want to play and plays with a great spirit."

  • Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren:
    "This has been my toughest day as Middlesbrough manager without a shadow of a doubt.

    "Down to 10 men with six teenagers on the park it was always going to be difficult. I've told the kids they're going to be good players in the future.

    "They're the future of Middlesbrough football club. and this is an experience they'll always remember."

    Arsenal: Lehmann, Lauren, Djourou, Senderos, Cygan (Cole 34), Ljungberg, Silva (Hleb 69), Fabregas, Pires (Flamini 69), Henry, Reyes.
    Subs Not Used: Almunia, Lupoli.

    Booked: Lauren.

    Goals: Henry 20, Senderos 22, Henry 30, Pires 45, Silva 59, Henry 68, Hleb 84.

    Middlesbrough: Jones, Parnaby, Bates, Riggott, Taylor (Wheater 61), Morrison, Rochemback (Johnson 70), Doriva, Mendieta, Yakubu, Viduka (Cattermole 70).
    Subs Not Used: Schwarzer, Hasselbaink.

    Sent Off: Doriva (73).

    Booked: Doriva, Cattermole.

    Att: 38,186

    Ref: R Styles (Hampshire).

    Interview: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

    Interview: Middlesbrough boss Steve McClaren


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