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Last Updated: Friday, 26 December, 2003, 13:59 GMT
Arsenal 3-0 Wolves
Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry
Arsenal briefly returned to the top of the Premiership with an easy victory over bottom club Wolves at Highbury.

Wolves defender Jody Craddock had a game to forget, scoring an own goal to put Arsenal ahead and then conceding possession for the second.

Patrick Vieira's 13th minute shot came off Craddock for the opener before the Frenchman set up Henry moments later.

Henry completed a brace when he slotted home with only a minute of the match remaining.

But it could have been far worse for Wolves, who were beaten 5-1 at Highbury in the Carling Cup earlier in December by a youthful Arsenal side.

A similar score this time would have been a fair reflection of Arsenal's superiority.

13 mins: Craddock's own-goal puts Arsenal ahead
20 mins: Henry doubles the Gunners' lead
89 mins: Henry scores his second

With the home crowd at Highbury expecting a comfortable win, it seemed Wolves were only to happy to oblige.

Wolves keeper Michael Oakes was called upon to stop the Gunners taking the lead in only the fourth minute.

Henry's shot was well turned over the bar and the warning signs were already clear for Dave Jones' relegation-threatened side.

And the vistors contributed to their own downfall courtesy of a mixture of misfortune and some sloppy defending.

Arsenal's opener had an element of luck about it as Vieira's shot cruelly deflected off Craddock and looped over Alex Rae on the goal line.

But the Gunners' second gave some clues as to why Wolves are struggling at the bottom of the table.

Craddock's hesitation in possession was punished by Vieira, who robbed him of the ball on the edge of the box.

The Arsenal skipper advanced on goal and squared for Henry to thump home from 12 yards.

The game was effectively over as a contest after that and it was merely a case of damage limitation for Wolves.

At times, there was little cutting edge to the match but Henry did povide a flash of inspiration with one minute remaining when his goal put a little gloss on a matt performance that proved sufficient to earn three points.


Arsenal: Lehmann, Toure, Campbell, Cygan, Clichy, Ljungberg (Edu 71), Vieira, Parlour, Pires (Aliadiere 71), Bergkamp, Henry. Subs not used: Keown, Kanu, Stack.
Booked: Aliadiere, Vieira.

Wolverhampton: Oakes, Luzhny, Craddock, Butler, Naylor, Cameron, Ince, Rae, Kennedy, Camara (Sturridge 85), Miller (Newton 76). Subs not used: Iversen, Clyde, Marshall.
Booked: Butler, Rae, Ince, Naylor, Luzhny.

Attendance: 38,003.

Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Steve Wilson
"The second half was little more than a training session for Arsenal"


Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"I felt that we were very professional"


Wolves boss Dave Jones
"There was a gulf in quality between the teams"



SEE ALSO
Boxing Day's Premiership photos
26 Dec 03  |  Photo Galleries



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