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BBC Sport's Alan Green
"Arsenal did enough to win"
 real 14k

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"Coventry had an impressive start"
 real 56k

Coventry boss Gordon Strachan
"I've been in tougher spots than this"
 real 56k

Saturday, 3 February, 2001, 18:19 GMT
Bergkamp deepens Coventry blues
Sylvain Wiltord
Arsenal win away for the first time in three months
Coventry 0-1 Arsenal

Dennis Bergkamp scored a rare, headed goal to give Arsenal victory over a dogged Coventry side in a tempestuous match littered with cautions.

The defeat is Coventry's fourth consecutive loss and sends the club deeper into relegation trouble.

Coventry were forced into a change of formation after Gary Breen failed a late fitness test, and converted to a back four instead of their usual back five.

But they started well and it was their attack which saw most of the action as they went closest to opening the scoring in the first quarter of the game.

  Key incidents
78 mins: Dennis Bergkamp scores Arsenal's winner

Craig Bellamy had their best chance after 15 minutes but Igor Stepanovs managed to clear his goal-bound shot.

Arsenal had not won away in the Premiership since November, and it was easy to see why as for the first 25 minutes as they did not threaten the Coventry goal.

Then Robert Pires and Dennis Bergkamp struck long-range volleys, but Magnus Hedman was equal to the task, making two splendid saves in the space of a minute.

Before that Coventry's Andy Eustace blazed over after finding himself in space 10 yards out as the Arsenal defence continued to look vulnerable.


The most important thing was to concentrate on this game and it's a credit to my staff that we did
  Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager

The first half saw two players booked from each side, with Tony Adams coming closest to seeing red.

The Gunners skipper had already been shown the yellow card for holding back Mustapha Hadji, then tangled with David Thompson but escaped with a stern lecture.

Thompson, also booked for a late challenge on Ashley Cole, who he had been giving a torrid time, was lucky not to concede a penalty.

It looked as though he had handled Patrick Vieira's cross and the Arsenal players were furious not to have been awarded the spot-kick.

Vieira protest his innocence
Arsenal players surround the referee

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, watching from the touchline after his ban was rescinded yesterday, was also fuming.

Ironically, it was the fourth official who calmed the Frenchman.

Arsenal were shaken from their lethargy after the interval and penned Coventry back into their own half as they pushed for a break-through.

But the best effort they could muster was a weak Tony Adams shot, easily gathered by Hedman.


The last time we played here we had to dig tunnels to get out, we were so embarassed - today we can walk
  Gordon Strachan

Ray Parlour received a booking for a foul on the lively Thompson and he and Adams are now suspended for the FA Cup clash with Chelsea.

For a brief spell Coventry gave their fans hope as they applied some pressure on the visitors in a five minute period.

But a lack of cutting-edge saw the momentum break down and the Sky Blues failed to create any real openings.

Arsenal then regained the ascendancy and deservedly took the lead after good work by Sylvain Wiltord.

His cross was met by Bergkamp who nipped in front of Hedman to nod the ball into an empty net.

Wiltord almost doubled Arsenal's lead with a slick spin and shot on the turn, but again Hedman prevented a goal with a good stop.


Coventry: Hedman, Quinn, Hall, Williams, Shaw, Thompson, Bellamy, Eustace, Carsley, Roussel, Hadji. Subs: Chippo, Telfer, Kirkland, Guerrero, Bothroyd.

Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Cole, Adams, Stepanovs, Lauren, Pires, Vieira, Parlour, Bergkamp, Wiltord. Subs: Manninger, Grimandi, Luzhny, Vivas, Kanu.

Referee: M Dean

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