4 May 2003

Arsenal (1) 2 (Henry 31, Bergkamp 63)
Leeds United (1) 3 (Kewell 5, Harte 48, Viduka 88)

Manchester United are the 2002-3 Premiership champions after nearest rivals
Arsenal were beaten at home by Leeds United on a sensational afternoon at
Highbury, a result which, barring a mathamatical fluke, keeps the Yorkshire
side in the Premiership.

The game began at a high pace and after Gilberto had crashed a header
against the bar inside three minutes, Leeds broke away and scored one of the
goals of the season. Jason Wilcox was the provider with a long ball for
Harry Kewell to chase. The Australian nodded it ahead of himself and then
cracked an unstoppable volley from 25 yards across David Seaman and into the
far corner. Indeed, Kewell almost doubled the lead shortly afterwards,
however after rounding the keeper this time, he only shot into the side

Arsenal finally found their shape after a poor opening for them and
equalised when Ray Parlour's shot was parried onto the bar by Paul Robinson
and then nodded into the gaping net by Thierry Henry. It set the stage for a
fierce spell of attacking from the hosts as Parlour had a shotr cleared off
the line by Michael Duberry and then Sylvain Wiltord had an effort rightly
ruled out for offside.

Leeds survived until half time and then stunned the home faithful by taking
the lead again. Ian Harte, a scorer at Highbury for the previous two
seasons, fizzed a free kick toward the far post from the right edge of the
area and via slight deflections off Ashley Cole and Gilberto, found the
bottom corner of the net.

Cue more Arsenal pressure as Henry was just wide twice and Wiltord missed a
sitter of a far post header befroe the second equaliser finally arrived.
Robert Pires was the provider this time as he burst into the area from the
left and as he cut the ball back, Dennis Bergkamp stabbed it into the roof
of the net for his first Highbury goal in the league this season.

A draw was still not good enough for Arsenal as the pressure intensified as
Martin Keown sent a free header off target and Thierry Henry drilled a shot
against the post and in truth there only looked one winner, however with two
minutes remaining and the Gunners piling forward, Dom Matteo came out of a
packed defence and floated a ball over the threadbare home backline for Mark
Viduka to run onto. The Australian cut inside from the left and hammered a
shot past Seaman and into the back of the net for a goal which had massive
consequences both sides of the Peninnes.

Five minutes of stoppage time failed to bring a third equaliser, let only a
winner for Arsenal as they are left to reflect on what might have been and
look forward to the Cup Final. Leeds can look forward to visiting Highbury
again next season, although technically they still need a draw in their
final game to be certain.

3 May 2003

Aston Villa (0) 1 (Allback 80)
Sunderland (0) 0

Aston Villa secured their Premiership status with a narrow victory over
Sunderland, who have now lost 14 games in a row and are close to breaking a
number of unwanted Prem records. The only goal of a drab game came late on
when Marcus Allback continued his recent scoring run with a fine finish from
the edge of the area having been found by Joey Gudjonsson.

Blackburn (1) 1 (Duff 11)
West Brom (0) 1 (Koumas 54)

Blackburn's UEFA Cup hopes took a bit of a stutter at home to already
relegated West Brom, who came from behind to snatch a draw. Damien Duff gave
the hosts the lead when he latched onto a long through ball from David Dunn
to fire across the keeper and inside the far post, however early in the
second half, the Baggies levelled matters thanks to a fine solo run and shot
from Jason Koumas.

Fulham (2) 2 (Stubbs (og) 34, Wright (og) 43)
Everton (0) 0

Fulham are also safe for another season at the expence of UEFA Cup seeking
Everton, who scored two own goals to hand Fulham victory. The first came
when Alan Stubbs tried to intercept the ball and only managed to lob it over
Richard Wright and into the net, whilst the second was all Wright's own work
as he fumbled a free kick from Steed Malbranque over the line at the near

Liverpool (0) 1 (Baros 59)
Man City (0) 2 (Anelka (pen) 74, 90)

Liverpool were beaten by their old boys as former favourite Kevin Keegan
guided his Man City side to a sensational late win at Anfield. Milan Baros
opened the scoring with a terrific volley from El-Hadji Diouf's cross,
however former Liverpool striker Nik Anelka equalised with a cool penalty
after he'd been tripped in the area by Djimi Traore. With the game heading
for a draw, another former Anfield star, Robbie Fowler, teamed up with Shaun
Wright-Phillips to set up Anelka for a stunning volley to clinch the win in
the final minute of stoppage time. Trivia fans may like to note that the
penalty was the first awarded to City all season! Liverpool must now win at
Chelsea next Sunday to make the Champions League qualifiers next season.

Middlesbrough (3) 5 (Christie 23, Juninho 26, Nemeth 28, Maccarone 51, 75)
Spurs (0) 1 (Redknapp 60)
RED CARD: Perry (Spurs) 25

Middlesbrough finished their home campaign in spectacular fashion with a
thumping win against a faltering Spurs side. Three goals in six minutes set
the scene as firstly Malcolm Christie fired home after Szilard Nemeth saw
his shot saved and then after Chris Perry was red carded for fouling Nemeth
in full flow, Juninho tapping in from practically on the goal-line after
Kasey Keller saved his penalty. Two minutes later, Nemeth added the third
himself after an initial shot had been blocked. Enter Massimo Maccarone from
the subs bench to add the fourth, slotting in after Nemeth had sent him
clear and although Jamie Redknapp pulled one back with a stunning 30 yard
free kick, Boro had the last word as Maccarone scored again with a toe poke
having been sent through by Juninho.

Newcastle (1) 1 (Viana 42)
Birmingham (0) 0
RED CARD: Upson (Birmingham) 41

Newcastle are guaranteed third place after a narrow win against ten-man
Birmingham. The main talking point came just before half time when Matthew
Upson was red-carded after fouling Craig Bellamy who was through on the edge
of the area and from the resulting free kick, Hugo Viana curled in a superb

Southampton (0) 0
Bolton (0) 0

Bolton remain out of the drop zone, albeit only on goal difference, after a
goalless draw at Southampton. The best chance fell to Brett Ormerod in the
second half, however from just two yards out, he somehow managed to divert a
looping effort away from goal rather than into the net.

West Ham (0) 1 (Di Canio 71)
Chelsea (0) 0

West Ham are now level on points at the bottom with Bolton and Leeds after
winning their third successive game and bring themselves to the brink of an
amazing recovery. They deserved the victory against Champions League chasing
Chelsea as caretaker boss Trevor Brooking sent on Paolo di Canio from the
subs bench to grab the winner. It came with under twenty minutes remaining
as a cross from Trevor Sinclair took two deflections and fell perfectly for
the Italian to smash the ball into the roof of the net. Barring a
mathimatical fluke, then the Hammers still need at least a point from their
final game, however what is certain is that either they, Leeds or Bolton
will be relegated. Chelsea meanwhile need a point at home to Liverpool to
clinch a Champions League qualifying spot.

Man United (3) 4 (Beckham 11, Van Nistelrooy 31, 37, 53)
Charlton (1) 1 (Jensen 13)

Ruud van Nistelrooy struck a hat-trick to put Manchester United within one
win of the championship after a 4-1 win against Charlton at Old Trafford.
The opening half an hour was a little uneasy for United, despite their
domination of possession. David Beckham had given them an early lead with a
deflected shot from the edge of the area after Van Nistelrooy had headed the
ball down, however within two minutes, a horror clearance from home keeper
Roy Carroll put the visitors levelled as he scuffed Roy Keane's back pass
straight to Claus Jensen who found the empty net well with a first time shot
from 30 yards. But, cometh the half hour, cometh the van as Van Nistelrooy
eased any nerves with two goals in seven minutes. His first came from a
Beckham corner, hooking home after Mikael Silvestre headed down at the far
post and then he latched onto a flicked header from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to
lob home the third. Early in the second half came the Dutchman's third and
United's fourth as he controlled a long pass from Beckham and drilled his
shot inside the near post. United now lie eight points ahead of Arsenal with
an away game at Everton to conclude the season. Should the Gunners fail to
win any of their three remaining games then the title goes back to Old
Trafford, as it will with a victory at Goodison next Sunday. The fat lady
may not have sung yet, but she's clearing her throat in preparation.

Gary Dowden - Joint Admin Topica Premier-L list
Leeds United and Scotland and proud of it