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Saturday, 24 August, 2002, 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK
Hammers hold Arsenal
Joe Cole celebrates his opening strike
Joe Cole celebrates his opening strike
West Ham 2-2 Arsenal

Sylvain Wiltord rescued Arsenal with a late strike as they looked to be heading for their first defeat in 23 league games.

The champions were given a huge fright after Joe Cole and Freddie Kanoute had put West Ham 2-0 up.


Henry's goal was amazing, like a missile
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

But a superb Thierry Henry strike gave Arsenal hope and fellow Frenchman Wiltord struck with two minutes remaining to salvage a point.

The result means Arsenal failed to set a new all-time English football record of 15 consecutive victories.

  Key moments
44 mins: Joe Cole smashes West Ham in front
53 mins: Freddie Kanoute doubles the Hammers' lead
65 mins: Thierry Henry pulls one back for Arsenal
Seaman saves Kanoute's penalty
88 mins: Wiltord equalises for Arsenal

But Gunners' boss Arsene Wenger will be delighted his pre-season boast that his side can go through the entire season undefeated remains intact.

With French players in abundance it was inevitable one of them would have a telling influence on the outcome in this London derby.

So it proved with Kanoute the man in the thick of things and he could have had an even better day had he not missed a second-half penalty.

That would have put West Ham 3-1 up and he will be ruing his weak effort which blemished an otherwise excellent display.

Henry's spectacular shot from the edge of the area extends Arsenal's run of scoring to 39 successive Premiership matches.

But more importantly, it halved Arsenal's deficit at a time when West Ham were dominating proceedings and seemingly cruising to victory.

Red-hot Cole

Cole had opened the scoring, with Kanoute the provider, striking a sweet left-foot shot beyond David Seaman.

It was the first time the Champions had fallen behind since their match against Leeds in January.

Thierry Henry is delighted with his goal
Henry salutes the Arsenal fans after scoring
For all Cole's hesitancy in defence, looking particularly fragile in combination with Sebastien Schemmel, Cole simply dazzled going forward.

And it was Cole who earned the penalty, after a push by Ashley Cole, which should have punished Arsenal.


That was a winning performance from us and we only took a point
West Ham manager Glenn Roeder

But it had seemed West Ham had wrapped up victory before then when Kanoute volleyed in shortly after the re-start.

However, the lead proved insufficient.

In the dying stages of a thrilling encounter, Wiltord played a tight one-two with substitute Kanu inside the Hammers box.

And the striker became the third Frenchman on the score-sheet when he drove the ball past James from 14 yards to equalise.



West Ham: James, Schemmel, Repka, Dailly, Winterburn (Breen 69), Carrick, Cole (Moncur 84), Cisse, Sinclair, Defoe, Kanoute.
Subs Not Used: Van Der Gouw, Pearce, Camara.

Booked: Repka, Moncur.

Arsenal: Seaman, Cole, Campbell, Keown, Lauren (Toure 84), Vieira, Parlour (Pennant 62), Edu, Wiltord, Bergkamp (Kanu 45), Henry.
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Luzhny.

Booked: Bergkamp, Edu, Cole, Keown, Vieira.

Attendance: 35,048

Referee: N Barry (N Lincolnshire).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's Steve May
"West Ham almost won"
Arsenal's David Seaman
"West Ham were great in the first half"
West Ham's Nigel Winterburn
"They keep bringing players off the bench"
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