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The BBC's Steve Wilson
reports from Highbury
 real 14k

Arsene Wenger
"We are not as pleased as we should be"
 real 14k

Gerard Houllier
"The referee spoiled a bit of the game"
 real 14k

Monday, 21 August, 2000, 22:04 GMT 23:04 UK
Three off as Arsenal beat Liverpool
Lauren's goal was overshadowed with the sendings off
Lauren's goal was overshadowed with the sendings off
Arsenal 2-0 Liverpool

Patrick Vieira was sent off for the second successive game as Arsenal ended their 14-match losing streak against Liverpool.

The game will be remembered for all the wrong reasons as three players were given their marching orders by referee Graham Poll.

Liverpool were reduced to nine men when Gary McAllister (39) and Dietmar Hamann (78) were shown red cards.

And Vieira was dismissed for two bookable offences.

Ironically it was not a dirty game and is a shame because it overshadowed a Highbury debut goal for 7m summer signing Bason Lauren and a wonderful late strike by Thierry Henry.

Liverpool had fielded a midfield-packed side and left Michael Owen on the bench using Emile Heskey as the lone striker.

  Match incidents
7 mins: Lauren scores on Highbury debut. Arsenal 1-0 up
39 mins: Liverpool's Gary McAllister sent off
78 mins: Liverpool's Dietmar Hamann sent off
72 mins: Patrick Vieira sent off
89 mins: Thierry Henry seals 2-0 win

Arsenal were much more attack minded, bringing in Lauren, Robert Pires and Dennis Bergkamp.

With less than a minute on the clock, Cameroon international Lauren could have made a dream start, when Thierry Henry put him through.

Lauren shot but it was well saved by Sander Westerveld.

Liverpool had a plausible shout for a penalty in the fourth minute.

Nicky Barmby played a wonderful one-two with Emile Heskey and appeared to have been brought down in the penalty area by Silvinho.

But referee Graham Poll waved away the Liverpool protests.

Just three minutes later Lauren became an immediate Highbury hero when he put the Gunners ahead - their first goal against Liverpool since Ian Wright in 1997.


The 7m summer signing blasted home from close range after Westerveld had failed to punch clear a corner.

Liverpool captain Sami Hyypia came closest to an equaliser for the visitors in the first half with two headers.

But Liverpool had to soak up a lot of pressure as the Gunners kept on attacking.

Liverpool were stunned just before half-time when Gary McAllister was controversially sent off.

Referee Poll dismissed the veteran midfielder for violent conduct after a two-footed tackle on Patrick Vieira.

Graham Poll is in the thick of the action
Graham Poll is in the thick of the action

It was more of the same after the break with Arsenal playing some great passing football with the extra man telling.

Although Liverpool did have chances when Dietmar Hamann's volley was spectacularly tipped away for a corner by Seaman.

Heskey only managed a poor header from the resulting corner.

Liverpool decided to throw caution to the wind in the 70th minute and put on Owen, a second forward, despite being a man down.

Both sides were reduced to ten men minutes later when Vieira was sent off for the second match in succession.

Both he and Jamie Carragher were booked for clashing and a minute later Vieira was off after a two-footed lunge at Hamann.

Hamann then got his marching orders for a second bookable offence as the match descended into a farce.

Arsenal had not beaten Liverpool since March 1994 but the victory will be overshadowed by Vieira's long suspension which could mean missing games against Manchester United and Chelsea.

Arsenal: Seaman, Vieira, Keown, Adams, Pires, Bergkamp, Lauren, Henry, Silvinho, Grimandi, Luzhny. Subs: Dixon, Manninger, Kanu, Cole, Vernazza

Liverpool: Westerveld, Henchoz, Babbel, Smicer, Heskey, Hyypia, Hamann, Barmby, McAllister, Carragher, Traore. Subs: Song, Owen, Murphy, Meijer, Arphexad.
Referee: Graham Poll (England)

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