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Gunners boss Arsene Wenger
"We didn't look like we had the right sharpness"
 real 56k

Boro coach Terry Venables
"We were determined to attack today"
 real 56k

Saturday, 14 April, 2001, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
Gunners hand Man Utd the title
Dean Windass
Dean Windass celebrates Boro's first
Arsenal 0-3 Middlesbrough

Middlesbrough earned a shock win at Highbury to boost their hopes of survival and hand the Premiership title to Manchester United.

Two own-goals from Brazilians Edu and Silvinho and a strike from Hamilton Ricard put Arsenal's seemingly unstoppable drive for a Champions League place on hold.

Arsenal enjoyed endless possession but were out-thought by a stifling Boro side at an understandably subdued Highbury.

Even Venables would agree that if Arsenal had had a touch more fortune and finishing prowess, the title race would still be alive.

Arsenal had a number of chances to get their noses in front in the opening exchanges.

Venables
Venables: Tactical masterstroke

First Henry split the Middlesbrough defence with a neat ball to Kanu.

But the Nigerian's low shot was well blocked by Middlesbrough keeper Mark Schwarzer.

Henry then stole the ball in the midfield before sending an ambitious curling effort over the bar.

But it was Boro who took a shock lead in the 37th minute.

Reply

In a rare venture into Gunners territory, Tony Adams' poor clearance fell to Dean Windass.

The former Bradford striker miscued his shot from 20 yards, but it struck the luckless Edu on the heel and slipped beyond the dive of David Seaman to squeeze just inside a post.

Arsenal threatened an immediate reply but Adams' header flew over the bar on 38 minutes.


We had a bit of good fortune but it is nice to have that now and again, but we played well and defended well
  Middlesbrough Head Coach Terry Venables
And yet, amazingly, Middlesbrough doubled their lead in the 38th minute with another Brazilian own-goal - this time by Silvinho.

Dean Gordon galloped down the left before whipping in a dangerous cross from the left and the full back's intended clearance shot past Seaman.

Refused to crack

Arsenal began the second half showing more purpose.

Kanu sent a powerful header wide, Silvinho had a great free-kick turned round the post and Henry had a shot on the turn well-blocked.

But whatever the Gunners threw at Venables' side, the Boro defence refused to crack.

And the game was put beyond doubt in the 58th minute when the Gunners were caught out again by a classic sucker-punch.


I don't think it was a case that we had our minds so much on the Champions League game in Valencia but we were just not right in our play
  Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
Hamilton Ricard held the ball up well outside the box when challenged by Adams and turned it out to the left to Boksic, who applied a superb return touch for his co-striker to drill past Seaman.

That ended any hopes Arsenal had of clinching this year's Premiership title and earning anything from this game.

Now the Gunners must pick themselves up for their crucial clash with Valencia next week, while Boro can bask in the glory of a rare victory at Highbury.


Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Keown, Adams, Silvinho, Pires, Vieira, Edu, Ljungberg, Henry, Kanu. Subs: Wiltord, Manninger, Parlour, Luzhny, Cole.

Middlesbrough: Schwarzer, Gavin, Ehiogu, Vickers, Karembeu, Okon, Ince, Windass, Gordon, Boksic, Ricard. Subs: Mustoe, Marinelli, Stamp, Crossley, Whelan.

Referee: P Durkin (Dorset)

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