Arsenal rally as Man U lose - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Arsenal rally as Man U lose

By Mitch Phillips 01/09/2003 05:33:40 AM Comments (0)

Arsenal opened a three-point lead at the top of the early premier league standings with a 2-1 victory at Manchester City after Manchester United lost 1-0 at Southampton.

Arsenal recovered from a Lauren own goal with strikes by Sylvain Wiltord and Freddie Ljungberg to make it four straight wins, their best start since 1947, and move to 12 points.

Champions United, the only other team to win their first three games, were sunk by James Beattie's 88th-minute header and remained second on nine points.

Cameroon defender Lauren, under pressure from Trevor Sinclair as he ran towards his own goal, sliced the ball past a bemused Jens Lehmann to give City a 10th-minute lead, which they did not look like losing as Arsenal failed to spark in the first half.

However, French forward Wiltord, left unmarked in the box, scrambled an equaliser three minutes after the break and Arsenal dominated the rest of the match.

Lehmann saved twice in a minute to deny Antoine Sibierski and Nicolas Anelka during a lively City spell midway through the second half but a defensive mix-up between China's Sun Jihai and former Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman allowed Ljungberg to poke the visitors ahead after 72 minutes.

Veteran defender Martin Keown then came close to a second own goal in the 88th minute when he deflected the ball against his own crossbar but Arsenal survived.

"They surprised us with a very direct game," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told Sky Sports. "They boxed us in our half and we couldn't get out. I thought we were a little bit within ourselves in the first half.

"We tried to make it more direct ourselves in the second half.

"It's good a start but it's only four games - now nearly the whole squad goes away on international duty and I hope everybody comes back healthy."

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