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Last Updated: Friday, 16 April, 2004, 20:51 GMT 21:51 UK
Arsenal 5-0 Leeds
Robert Pires, Thierry Henry and Gilberto celebrate for Arsenal
Thierry Henry hit his first four-goal haul for Arsenal as they closed in on the title with a vintage display.

Robert Pires stunned Leeds by curling home Dennis Bergkamp's pass early on and Henry coolly slotted in number two after Michael Duberry's mistake.

When Duberry handled up stepped Henry to dink in the resulting penalty and he completed his fifth Arsenal hat-trick by side-footing past Paul Robinson.

Henry's solo run and finish made it 5-0 before Robinson saved from Jose Reyes.

The first of many chances fell to Sylvain Wiltord after three minutes, the Frenchman guiding a shot well wide from Pires' cross after Gary Kelly had mis-hit a clearance.

But the Gunners did not have to wait too long to go ahead. Wiltord and Bergkamp combined to put Pires through and he sweetly curled the ball beyond Robinson.

KEY MOMENTS
6 mins: Pires brilliantly curls Arsenal ahead
27 mins: Henry races clear to double the advantage
33 mins: Duberry handles and Henry chips the penalty home
50 mins: Henry completes his hat-trick
67 mins: Henry's individual genius makes it 5-0

If Leeds were stunned by going behind early on they did not show it, and the visitors began to string passes around as they tried to fashion an opening.

Alan Smith and Mark Viduka had half-chances as Arsenal's defence looked vulnerable, but a costly mistake by Duberry soon put the result almost beyond doubt.

The defender attempted to catch Henry offside as Gilberto Silva slipped the ball through, but the Henry was easily onside and he raced into the box to place it under Robinson to double the lead.

Having responded well once, Leeds could not rise to the challenge again, and Arsenal started to dominate.

Another neat move saw Bergkamp jink his way into the box and when Duberry handled, up stepped Henry to cheekily chip the resulting spot-kick down the middle of Robinson's goal.

It could have got worse before half-time for Leeds but Patrick Vieira flashed a header wide from Wiltord's cross.

Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira battles for possession with Leeds' Mark Viduka
Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira tussles with Leeds' Mark Viduka

If half-time offered Eddie Gray's men some sanctuary, the opening stages of the second half provided a sharp reminder of Arsenal's awesome attacking.

Gilberto once more threaded a pass through to Henry and the striker coolly slotted past Robinson for his 28th Premiership goal of a remarkable campaign.

Moments later it was Wiltord's turn to test the Leeds defence, but after cutting inside the bewildered Duberry he lashed his right-foot shot wide.

Instead, it fell to Henry to make it five.

Picking the ball up on the halfway line, the 26-year-old raced at the heart of the Leeds defence, even staying on his feet after a trip from Kelly, to beat the advancing Robinson yet again.

Reyes came on for Bergkamp and immediately tried to get in on the act, seeing a right-foot shot deflected over, and Sol Campbell headed the resulting corner wide.

Reyes then pushed a ball through for Henry, who showed he is still human by sending a low left-foot shot wide of Robinson's goal.

Henry sent Reyes through in injury time but Robinson made a brilliant save at the Spaniard's feet to deny him his first league goal in England.


Arsenal: Lehmann, Lauren, Campbell, Toure, Clichy, Wiltord, Silva (Edu 69), Vieira, Pires (Parlour 72), Henry, Bergkamp (Reyes 72).
Subs not used: Keown, Stack.

Leeds: Robinson, Kelly, Duberry, Caldwell, Harte, Pennant, Radebe (Barmby 72), Matteo, Milner, Smith, Viduka (Simon Johnson 84).
Subs not used: Lennon, Kilgallon, Carson.

Attendance: 38,094.

Referee: D Gallagher (Oxfordshire).




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BBC Five Live's Alan Green
"I know it sounds daft, but Leeds actually looked quite good"




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