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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 April, 2003, 20:58 GMT 21:58 UK
Highbury title deadlock
Van Nistelrooy made no mistake

Arsenal 2-2 Man Utd

Arsenal and Manchester United left the championship chase balanced on a knife edge after an eventful stalemate at Highbury.

Manchester United lead the Premiership by three points after Arsenal ended with 10 men following a late red card for defender Sol Campbell.

But Arsenal still have a game in hand and will feel they can now go on to retain the title.

Ruud van Nistelrooy gave Manchester United a deserved first-half lead with a brilliant solo effort.

But Arsenal fought back and edged ahead with a double from Thierry Henry after the interval.

23 mins: Van Nistelrooy puts Man Utd ahead.
33 mins: Arsenal's Patrick Vieira limps off.
50 mins: Thierry Henry equalises for Arsenal.
62 mins: Thierry Henry puts Arsenal ahead.
63 mins: Ryan Giggs levels for Man Utd.
82 mins: Sol Campbell sent off for elbowing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

But their lead lasted only seconds as United restored parity courtesy of a Ryan Giggs header.

And the final twist came when Campbell was sent off for elbowing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - leaving him facing a suspension that will rule him out of the FA Cup final against Southampton.

Arsenal suffered a blow before kick-off when goalkeeper David Seaman was ruled out through illness - with Stuart Taylor deputising.

And he should have conceded a goal in the eighth minute when Solskjaer's cross eluded Martin Keown and the normally lethal Paul Scholes headed wide from only eight yards.

Van Nistelrooy was also guilty of uncharacteristic generosity in front of goal, lifting a casual finish over the bar with only Taylor to beat after good work by Scholes.

The draw means the title race is still wide open
Trevor Brooking

But it was third time lucky for United when they took the lead in devastating fashion after 23 minutes.

Giggs found Van Nistelrooy, and the Dutchman skipped away from Campbell before beating Keown for pace and beating the onrushing Taylor.

Arsenal's off-colour first half took a turn for the worse 10 minutes later when captain Patrick Vieira, who never looked happy and wore a large strapping on his troublesome knee, limped off to be replaced by Edu.

United made a substitution of their own during the interval, sending on Gary Neville for John O'Shea.


Wenger's men needed a lift from somewhere - and it came in the shape of a highly-fortuitous leveller after 50 minutes.

Ashley Cole's shot was drifting wide until it struck Henry and deflected past Fabien Barthez.

Arsenal were in front after 62 minutes, but it was a lead that lasted less than a minute.

Henry was well offside as he strode clear to beat Barthez, but as Arsenal's concentration wavered, United swept upfield almost immediately and Giggs was unmarked to head Solskjaer's cross past Taylor.

Arsenal were reduced to 10 men with eight minutes left, when Campbell elbowed Solskjaer and was sent off after referee Mark Halsey consulted his assistant.

The Gunners almost stole the victory in injury-time, but Barthez saved with his legs from Henry.

Arsenal: Taylor, Lauren, Keown, Campbell, Cole, Ljungberg, Silva, Vieira (Edu 34), Pires (Kanu 80), Bergkamp (Wiltord 75), Henry.
Subs Not Used: Warmuz, Luzhny.

Sent off: Campbell (83).

Man Utd: Barthez, Brown, Ferdinand, Silvestre, O'Shea (Gary Neville 45), Solskjaer, Butt, Keane, Giggs, Scholes, Van Nistelrooy.
Subs Not Used: P Neville, Beckham, Ricardo, Fortune.

Booked: Keane, Butt.

Attendance: 38,164.

Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).

BBC Five Live's Jonathan Pearce
"The mind games and intrigue continue"

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"The draw is better than losing"




Arsenal v Man Utd photos
16 Apr 03  |  Photo Galleries

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