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Page last updated at 19:25 GMT, Saturday, 20 March 2010

Arsenal   2 - 0   West Ham

Denison blasts in the opener
The Gunners open up their account with a cracking strike from Denilson

By Mark Ashenden

Arsenal survived defender Thomas Vermaelen's first-half sending off to beat West Ham and climb to the top of the Premier League table.

Denilson put the Gunners ahead on four minutes after Nicklas Bendtner's pass.

Vermaelen saw red just before the break for bringing down Guillermo Franco, but Alessandro Diamanti saw his spot-kick well saved by Manuel Almunia.

West Ham substitute Carlton Cole hit a post, before Cesc Fabregas scored a penalty after a Matthew Upson handball.

A second period of hard graft and three points at the Emirates ensured a sixth successive league win and, with Manchester United and Chelsea both playing on Sunday, guaranteed the Gunners top spot for at least 24 hours.

For their London opponents, though, the struggle for Premier League survival shows no sign of receding with Gianfranco Zola's side now without a point in four matches and hovering perilously three points above the drop zone.

606: DEBATE
Richard

After hearing they had been drawn against Barcelona in the Champions League midweek, the Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger remarked that "your next game makes your life".

And with a six-year gap since becoming champions in England, Arsenal looked in no mood to take anybody lightly at the start of Saturday's tea-time clash and were celebrating the opening goal on just four minutes.

Denilson played a one-two with Bendtner and although there was a hint of a use of arm when getting past Valon Behrami, the Brazilian was soon dancing the samba after striking the ball low into the net for his sixth of the season.

West Ham, looking for a first win on their travels since the opening day of the campaign, were not totally devoid of attacking ideas despite missing their injured skipper Scott Parker.

Wenger and players believe in title

Italian Diamanti fired a free-kick over the bar, while Mido, starting up front in place of Cole, slid in at the back post and narrowly missed out on converting a devilishly low cross from the recalled Junior Stanislas.

The hosts were playing their typically free-flowing game and Samir Nasri and skipper Fabregas, back from injury, both wasted good chances inside the box.

However, within one minute of the break, the script for Wenger's high-fliers took an unexpected turn for the worse when they were reduced to 10 men.

After a long punt into the box from Diamanti, Franco clashed with Vermaelen and referee Martin Atkinson was soon reaching for the red card after getting the nod from his assistant.

Boos turned to loud cheers inside the stadium when Almunia dived left to keep out Diamanti's kick and preserve their lead, but it did not discourage Wenger from expressing his opinion to the man in black as the teams walked off at half-time.

Despite their numerical inferiority, Arsenal continued to press forward as the effervescent Emmanuel Eboue curled a fine cross for Andrei Arshavin to nod over.

As the rain dumped on to the Emirates pitch, Wenger opted to sacrifice his attacking options and bring on Abou Diaby for the impressive Bendtner, while Zola, desperate for an equaliser, introduced Cole for Franco.

Arsenal remained comfortable in possession and Fabregas delivered a pin-point free-kick towards the charging Sol Campbell but the veteran defender could only parry the ball back to Rob Green with his shoulder.

Zola rues lack of staying power

Striker Cole came within a few inches of an equaliser after blasting a 20-yard shot against the left post, but with five minutes remaining the points were made safe with another penalty.

Fabregas burst into the box and as the ball bobbled up against Upson's arm, referee Atkinson pointed to the spot for a decision that few contested.

The Spaniard showed no nerves as he struck the ball past Green to cap a magnificent display.

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Arsenal 2-0 West Ham FT
(HT 1-0)
  • Denilson 5
  • Fabregas (pen) 83

    Arsenal

    Substitutes

    West Ham

    Substitutes

    Ref: AtkinsonAtt: 60,077
    ARSENAL
    WEST HAM

    Possession

    • Arsenal 53%
    • West Ham 47%

    Attempts on target

    • Arsenal 5
    • West Ham 4

    Attempts off target

    • Arsenal 4
    • West Ham 4

    Corners

    • Arsenal 4
    • West Ham 2

    Fouls

    • Arsenal 7
    • West Ham 24
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+3:10 The final whistle is blown by the referee.
    • 90:00+0:52 Booking The referee shows Fabio Daprela a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
    • 90:00+0:41 Emmanuel Eboue fouled by Fabio Daprela, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Neves Denilson.
    • Correction - 90:00+0:14 Fabio Daprela gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Emmanuel Eboue. Neves Denilson takes the direct free kick.
    • 90:00+0:14 Emmanuel Eboue fouled by Fabio Daprela, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
    • 89:39 Effort on goal by Carlton Cole from just inside the area clears the bar.
    • 85:02 Manuel Almunia fouled by Carlton Cole, the ref awards a free kick. Manuel Almunia restarts play with the free kick.
    • 83:04 Substitution Da Silva Eduardo replaces Andrey Arshavin.
    • 82:12 GOAL - Francesc FabregasArsenal 2 - 0 West Ham Placed penalty scored by Francesc Fabregas. Arsenal 2-0 West Ham.
    • 81:20 Matthew Upson is adjudged to have handled the ball.
    • 78:48 Free kick awarded for a foul by James Tomkins on Gael Clichy. Free kick crossed right-footed by Francesc Fabregas from own half.
    • 77:49 Emmanuel Eboue fouled by Mark Noble, the ref awards a free kick. Francesc Fabregas takes the free kick.
    • 77:11 Carlton Cole produces a drilled right-footed shot from just outside the area that bounces off the post.
    • 76:42 Shot from 18 yards by Andrey Arshavin. Save made by Robert Green.
    • 75:37 Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Benedict McCarthy misses to the right of the target.
    • 73:52 Substitution . Mido leaves the field to be replaced by Benedict McCarthy.
    • 73:52 Substitution Bacary Sagna joins the action as a substitute, replacing Samir Nasri.
    • 73:43 Sol Campbell takes a shot. Robert Green makes a save.
    • 73:23 Unfair challenge on Samir Nasri by Fabio Daprela results in a free kick. Francesc Fabregas takes the direct free kick.
    • 69:59 Fabio Daprela concedes a free kick for a foul on Emmanuel Eboue. Francesc Fabregas restarts play with the free kick.
    • 69:07 Substitution Radoslav Kovac goes off and Mark Noble comes on.
    • 69:07 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Vassiriki Diaby by Jonathan Spector. Francesc Fabregas takes the free kick.
    • 68:27 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Alessandro Diamanti, clearance by Vassiriki Diaby.
    • 68:03 Alessandro Diamanti takes a shot. Blocked by Sol Campbell.
    • 66:07 Neves Denilson fouled by . Mido, the ref awards a free kick. Francesc Fabregas takes the direct free kick.
    • 62:54 Carlton Cole is penalised for a handball. Direct free kick taken by Alex Song.
    • 61:20 Francesc Fabregas shoots direct from the free kick.
    • 61:20 Booking Matthew Upson goes into the book.
    • 61:09 Free kick awarded for a foul by Matthew Upson on Emmanuel Eboue.
    • 59:45 Alessandro Diamanti takes a shot. Save made by Manuel Almunia.
    • 57:07 Substitution Vassiriki Diaby on for Nicklas Bendtner.
    • 56:33 Substitution Carlton Cole on for Guillermo Franco.
    • 55:15 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Francesc Fabregas from the left by-line, save by Robert Green.
    • 54:58 Neves Denilson takes a shot. Blocked by Jonathan Spector.
    • 53:29 The official flags Guillermo Franco offside. Indirect free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.
    • 51:05 Unfair challenge on Radoslav Kovac by Andrey Arshavin results in a free kick. Matthew Upson takes the free kick.
    • 46:43 Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Andrey Arshavin misses to the left of the goal.
    • 45:01 The match restarts for the second half.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+1:40 The ref blows to end the first period.
    • 45:00+0:34 Manuel Almunia takes the direct free kick.
    • 45:00+0:34 Booking Radoslav Kovac goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.
    • 45:00+0:31 Radoslav Kovac challenges Francesc Fabregas unfairly and gives away a free kick.
    • 43:59 Penalty taken by Alessandro Diamanti is saved by Manuel Almunia. Arsenal 1-0 West Ham.
    • 43:59 Sent off Thomas Vermaelen receives a red card.
    • 43:53 Unfair challenge on Guillermo Franco by Thomas Vermaelen results in a Penalty.
    • 42:42 The assistant referee flags for offside against Andrey Arshavin. Robert Green takes the free kick.
    • 41:03 Corner taken by Francesc Fabregas from the right by-line, clearance by . Mido.
    • 40:25 Junior Stanislas takes a shot. Comfortable save by Manuel Almunia.
    • 38:58 Free kick taken by Robert Green.
    • 38:58 Booking Sol Campbell goes into the book.
    • 38:52 Unfair challenge on Junior Stanislas by Sol Campbell results in a free kick.
    • 38:26 Corner taken right-footed by Francesc Fabregas, James Tomkins manages to make a clearance.
    • 37:13 Sol Campbell takes the direct free kick.
    • 37:13 Booking Alessandro Diamanti is booked.
    • 37:09 Nicklas Bendtner fouled by Alessandro Diamanti, the ref awards a free kick.
    • 35:17 Emmanuel Eboue crosses the ball.
    • 34:03 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Samir Nasri by Fabio Daprela. Francesc Fabregas restarts play with the free kick.
    • 33:12 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Neves Denilson by Alessandro Diamanti. Direct free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
    • 28:07 Foul by Francesc Fabregas on Radoslav Kovac, free kick awarded. Robert Green takes the free kick.
    • 27:42 Fabio Daprela concedes a free kick for a foul on Samir Nasri. Direct free kick taken by Samir Nasri.
    • 26:41 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Valon Behrami by Samir Nasri. Direct free kick taken by Robert Green.
    • 26:14 Corner taken by Francesc Fabregas, . Mido makes a clearance.
    • 25:13 Valon Behrami gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Francesc Fabregas. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Francesc Fabregas, . Mido manages to make a clearance.
    • 24:30 Valon Behrami challenges Francesc Fabregas unfairly and gives away a free kick. Francesc Fabregas takes the free kick.
    • 22:57 Shot from 20 yards by Junior Stanislas. Blocked by Thomas Vermaelen.
    • 22:40 Short corner taken by Alessandro Diamanti.
    • 21:00 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Neves Denilson by Alessandro Diamanti. Gael Clichy takes the direct free kick.
    • 20:25 Emmanuel Eboue produces a right-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the goal.
    • 19:47 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Alex Song by . Mido. Free kick taken by Neves Denilson.
    • 19:11 Guillermo Franco is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Manuel Almunia restarts play with the free kick.
    • 18:10 Francesc Fabregas fouled by Valon Behrami, the ref awards a free kick. Francesc Fabregas takes the direct free kick.
    • 17:54 Emmanuel Eboue gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Fabio Daprela. Free kick taken by Fabio Daprela.
    • 16:03 Jonathan Spector challenges Gael Clichy unfairly and gives away a free kick. Francesc Fabregas crosses the ball from the free kick right-footed from left wing, save by Robert Green.
    • 13:54 Unfair challenge on Emmanuel Eboue by . Mido results in a free kick. Emmanuel Eboue takes the free kick.
    • 10:31 Unfair challenge on Alex Song by Guillermo Franco results in a free kick. Manuel Almunia takes the direct free kick.
    • 9:38 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Andrey Arshavin by Jonathan Spector. Manuel Almunia takes the free kick.
    • 9:09 Neves Denilson takes a shot. Save by Robert Green.
    • 6:59 Sol Campbell concedes a free kick for a foul on Guillermo Franco. Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Alessandro Diamanti.
    • 6:24 Effort from outside the penalty box by Nicklas Bendtner goes wide left of the target.
    • 4:28 Nicklas Bendtner provided the assist for the goal.
    • 4:28 GOAL - Neves DenilsonArsenal 1 - 0 West Ham Neves Denilson scores a goal from just outside the area to the bottom right corner of the goal. Arsenal 1-0 West Ham.
    • 0:00 The referee gets the game underway.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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    Premier League table snapshot

    As it stood on 20 Mar 2010 23:59 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    1 Arsenal 31 40 67
    2 Man Utd 30 46 66
    3 Chelsea 29 42 64
    4 Tottenham 30 26 55
    5 Liverpool 30 19 51
    6 Man City 28 17 50
    7 Aston Villa 29 17 50
    8 Everton 30 6 45
    9 Birmingham 30 -3 44
    10 Fulham 29 0 38
    11 Stoke 30 -6 36
    12 Sunderland 30 -6 34
    13 Blackburn 29 -17 34
    14 Bolton 31 -20 32
    15 Wigan 31 -30 31
    16 Wolves 30 -24 28
    17 West Ham 30 -14 27
    18 Burnley 31 -33 24
    19 Hull 30 -35 24
    20 Portsmouth 30 -25 13

    see also
    We can win the title, says Wenger
    20 Mar 10 |  Arsenal
    Saturday football as it happened
    20 Mar 10 |  Football
    Saturday's football photos
    20 Mar 10 |  Football
    Lawro's predictions
    21 Mar 10 |  Football



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