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Wednesday, 24 April, 2002, 20:56 GMT 21:56 UK
Arsenal keep on track
Thierry Henry (left), Ashley Cole and Kanu celebrate Arsenal's second
Arsenal celebrate after Kanu made victory safe
Arsenal 2-0 West Ham
  Will Gunners do the double? Have your say
  Photo Gallery: See the match action

Arsenal extended their lead at the top of the Premiership table to four points with a nerve-racking victory against brave West Ham at Highbury.

For nearly 80 minutes the Hammers held out before goals from Freddie Ljungberg and Kanu gave the Gunners the points.

It might have been a very different result if Frederic Kanoute's first-half effort for West Ham had been allowed.

But, although the ball appeared to be several inches across the line before Ashley Cole hooked it away, the referee did not give it.

  Time for TV refs? Have your say

The Gunners now lead Liverpool by four points and Manchester United by five, and they are just two wins away from securing the title.

Frederic Kanoute celebrates but the referee did not give the goal for West Ham
Kanoute was convinced he had scored for West Ham

England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson watched the match with live-in partner Nancy Dell'Olio.

And he would have been impressed by the way Arsenal kept their nerve to record a club-record equalling 10th straight league victory.

Arsenal started in lively fashion, with flame-haired Swede Ljungberg leading the charge.

A sublime reverse flick from Henry sent in Ljungberg to force a sprawling low save from David James inside two minutes and the Swede soon went even closer.


All season the luck is balanced - we've had some bad luck with decisions and overall I think you get what you deserve
Arsenal manager
Arsene Wenger

He beat four men on a jinking run into the box and got his shot away with numbers five and six closing in, but James made a brave save as he raced out of his goal.

West Ham then fashioned three decent openings for their erratic French striker Kanoute, but he twice put the ball a yard wide and then lifted it over the bar with only Seaman to beat.

However, with eight minutes to the break Kanoute was desperately unlucky not to register the first goal of the game.

The lanky striker broke away from the Arsenal defence, rounded Seaman and rolled the ball towards the goal.

  Key moments
37 mins: Kanoute's effort is not given by the referee
77 mins: Ljungberg puts the Gunners in front
80 mins: Kanu makes the game safe for Arsenal

Cole managed to scramble it away and although the ball appeared to have crossed the line by several inches the assistant referee was unsighted and the goal was not given.

It was a massive let-off for the Gunners who, after dominating the opening exchanges, had been held with increasing comfort by West Ham.

They could have taken an early lead after the break but James was out quickly to deny Ray Parlour, with Henry hitting the rebound straight at the England back-up keeper.


You can clearly see the ball was over the line but it's an honest mistake and I hope he (the linesman) owns up to it
Hammers' boss
Glenn Roeder
Five minutes later Henry curled a free-kick just wide before Dennis Bergkamp clipped the ball just over after 67 minutes.

Henry shot wide and then saw Ian Pearce rise in front of him to head behind Parlour's cross as the France striker prepared to nod the ball home.

Arsenal continued to dominate possession and they finally made the breakthrough when Ljungberg darted onto Bergkamp's incisive pass and rolled the ball home after 76 minutes.

Three minutes later Kanu knocked in Ljungberg's cross and Highbury could finally relax.


Arsenal: Seaman, Lauren, Adams, Keown, Cole, Ljungberg (Dixon 90), Parlour, Vieira, Edu (Kanu 64), Bergkamp (Grimandi 81), Henry.

Subs Not Used: Jeffers, Wright.

Booked: Edu, Vieira.

Goals: Ljungberg 77, Kanu 80.

West Ham: James, Schemmel (Labant 17), Pearce, Dailly, Repka, Winterburn, Carrick, Lomas, Sinclair, Cole, Kanoute (Defoe 74).

Subs Not Used: Hislop, Potts, Garcia.

Booked: Carrick, Lomas.

Att: 38,038 Ref: S Dunn (Bristol).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Steve Wilson
"Arsenal battered West Ham's defence"
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
"We were great"
Arsenal's Freddie Ljungberg
"You give your all and try for the best"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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