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Sunday, 21 April, 2002, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Arsenal go top
Fredrik Ljungberg
Ljungberg scored both of Arsenal's goals
Arsenal 2-0 Ipswich

  E-mail your reaction to Football Talk   Photo Gallery: See the match in pictures

Fredrik Ljungberg scored twice to sink plucky Ipswich and send Arsenal back to the top of the Premiership.

It did not look like it was going to be Arsenal's day until the Swede struck his first goal in the 68th minute.

The Gunners had hit the woodwork four times and been frustrated by a spirited and well-organised visiting side.

  Key incidents
22 mins: Arsenal's Henry hits the crossbar with a fierce shot.
40 mins: Reuser heads against the post for Ipswich.
68 mins: Ljungberg puts Arsenal ahead with a clever goal.
78 mins:Ljungberg doubles Arsenal's lead.
The win puts Arsenal one point clear of second-placed Liverpool, and two ahead of Manchester United in third, with a game in hand on both challengers.

Ipswich, meanwhile, took a step closer to the abyss with this defeat.

They still have to face Liverpool and Manchester United and time is running out for them to preserve their Premiership status.

But their manager, George Burley, will have been pleased with an impressive performance from his side.

Their defence, marshalled by John McGreal, was solid, while the midfield quartet competed fiercely.

Arsenal first hit the woodwork in the 22nd minute, when Thierry Henry unleashed a fierce 20-yard shot that Andy Marshall pushed onto his crossbar.


We have shown a lot of mental strength and motivation and we will show that until the end of the season
Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager
Yet the home side were struggling to create chances and it was Ipswich who should have taken the lead close to the interval.

Finidi George, showing an appetite for battle that has often been lacking from his game this season, powered past Lauren down the left.

He sent a pin-point cross in to Martijn Reuser, but the attacking midfielder sent his header against the far post from eight yards out.

Moments later, Arsenal's Martin Keown hit the post from an Edu corner.

The Gunners continued to press after the break but often lacked inspiration.

Bergkamp beat Marshall with a trademark curler from 20 yards but, yet again, his effort thudded against the post.

The Gunners were becoming increasingly frustrated when Ljungberg struck the crossbar with a powerful shot. after 68 minutes.


I thought the spirit and work-rate was tremendous and if we'd taken our opportunity, who knows?
George Burley
Ipswich manager
But the tension eased at Highbury when the Swede scored just seconds later. Vieira crossed from the right and Keown won the ball in the air.

Ljungberg's first touch was superb as he took the ball wide of a defender before sweeping the ball low past Marshall.

Arsenal's lead was doubled 10 minutes later. Substitute Gilles Grimandi crossed from the right, and although Ljungberg's initial header was blocked by Marshall, the Swede swept the ball into the net with his knee.

The goal was Ljungberg's 16th of the season and made him Arsenal's third-highest scorer.


Arsenal: Seaman, Lauren, Keown, Adams, Cole, Ljungberg, Parlour, Vieira, Edu, Henry, Bergkamp. Subs: Dixon, Jeffers, Grimandi, Wright, Kanu.

Ipswich: Marshall, Bramble, McGreal, Hreidarsson, Clapham, George, Holland, Tommy Miller, Reuser, Stewart, Marcus Bent. Subs: Wilnis, Armstrong, Salmon, Ambrose, Peralta.

Referee: A Wiley (Burntwood).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Ian Brown
"Ipswich crumbled in the final quarter"
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"Ipswich were very well organised"
Ipswich boss George Burley
"I couldn't ask any more of my players"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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