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Saturday, 14 September, 2002, 16:05 GMT 17:05 UK
Arsenal reach new heights
Patrick Vieira stretches his weary legs against Charlton
Vieira stretches his weary legs against Charlton
Charlton 0-3 Arsenal

Goals from Thierry Henry, Sylvain Wiltord and Edu saw Arsenal beat Charlton and set a new record for scoring in their 45th consecutive top-flight game.

Leeds' victory earlier in the day had put them top of the Premiership, but the champions swiftly restored their advantage with a comfortable win.

Charlton have yet to win at home in the Premiership this season, but they started better in a typically scrappy derby game.

But Arsenal gradually imposed themselves, going ahead when Henry fired home after a fluent move just before half-time.

  Key moments
35 mins: Toure's cross finds Wiltord at the far post but his sharp volley is well saved by Dean Kiely
44 mins: A well-worked move ends with Thierry Henry hitting home from the edge of the penalty area
47 mins: Toure strikes the foot of the post
67 mins: Wiltord makes it 2-0 to Arsenal when sweeping home unmarked
88 mins: Edu heads home to seal Arsenal's victory

Another well-worked build-up resulted in Wiltord sweeping home midway through the second half and Edu sealed victory with a late headed goal.

Wiltord and Kolo Toure, making his debut start, were both impressive, causing Charlton problems down the wings.

And once they had quelled Charlton's early promise, Arsenal were always on the offensive with Patrick Vieira's weary legs not being asked to do much in the way of defending.

It could have been different had Jonatan Johansson been able to do better when presented with a good scoring opportunity in the opening minutes.

Arsenal's usually solid defence looked shaky with Martin Keown and Ashley Cole both getting booked in a frenetic first quarter of the match.


We look like we are getting better and better
Arsene Wenger

But Arsenal settled and it was no surprise to see them take the lead just before half-time.

Vieira, with his back to goal, fed Bergkamp down the right and the Dutchman's crisp pull-back was sweetly struck home by Henry from the edge of the box, beating Kiely at his near post.

Toure could have doubled the advantage straight after the break but his shot hit the foot of the post.

Charlton made little in the way of chances in the second half, with Johansson again getting the best opportunity.


Arsenal have so much quality
Alan Curbishley

Arsenal's superiority came to the fore in the second half subduing the atmosphere at The Valley.

Edu sealed victory with two minutes left, heading over Kiely from Henry's pinpoint cross - and the Brazilian still had time to see a goal disallowed for offside.

Four would probably have flattered Arsenal but their minds are clearly on goals with their sights now on Chesterfield's league record of scoring in 46 consecutive games.



Charlton: Kiely, Young, Fortune, Rufus, Powell, Lisbie, Bart-Williams (Kishishev 74), Jensen, Robinson, Euell (Svensson 74), Johansson (Blomqvist 67).
Subs Not Used: Rachubka, Fish.

Arsenal: Seaman, Luzhny, Keown, Campbell, Cole, Wiltord (Cygan 85), Vieira, Silva, Toure (Edu 65), Bergkamp (Kanu 71), Henry.
Subs Not Used: Shaaban, Jeffers.

Booked: Keown, Cole, Luzhny.

Attendance: 26,080

Referee: Steve Dunn (Avon)

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Ian Brown
"Vieira's legs were anything but his last"
Arsenal's Dennis Bergkamp
"The first half was difficult"
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