Reyes keeps Chelsea waiting
By Peter ORourke. Last Updated: 25/04/05 9:30pm
Arsenal ensured Chelsea's title celebrations remained on hold with a 1-0 win over Tottenham in the North London derby at Highbury.
Jose Antonio Reyes' first half goal was enough to give Arsenal all three points and keep Chelsea waiting before securing the championship.
The win restores Arsenal's four-point lead over Manchester United in the race for second spot, while Tottenham's European hopes took a blow with the defeat.
Arsenal, knowing nothing other than victory would deny Chelsea the title, came racing out of the traps and should have broken the deadlock in the very first minute through Reyes.
Robin van Persie sent Reyes scampering clear on goal and the Spaniard rounded Paul Robinson only to then somehow fire his right-footed shot into the side-netting with the goal gaping.
Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe went close for the visitors on 14 minutes when he collected Michael Carrick's pass and chipped a clever shot just wide of the target.
Defoe really should have handed Tottenham the lead three minutes later when Sean Davis won the ball from Gilberto Silva to send Defoe clear on goal, but the England international drove his shot straight at Jens Lehmann who kept the ball out.
Arsenal opened the scoring on 22 minutes when Reyes made up for his earlier miss with a fine strike.
Cesc Fabregas was the creator of the goal with a neat one-two with Patrick Vieira before he poked a perfect pass for Reyes to break down the left and fire in an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner past Robinson.
Tottenham were struggling to create any clear goalscoring chances and Fredi Kanoute fired wildly over the crossbar just before the half hour mark.
Arsenal had claims for a penalty waved away by referee Mike Riley on 35 minutes when Vieira went down in the box from an apparent challenge from Michael Dawson.
Three minutes later Vieira wasted a great opening when, unmarked, he got on the end of Reyes' free kick inside the box only to steer his header wide of the far post.
Philippe Senderos made a vital tackle four minutes before the break to deny Kanoute getting through on goal with the striker appealing in vain for a penalty.
Van Persie almost grabbed a second for Arsenal on 41 minutes when he turned Ledley King inside out on the edge of the box and fired in a right-footed shot which flew just wide of the far post.
Arsenal continued to call the tune and Cesc saw a volley from Reyes' cross blocked by Erik Edman in front of his own goal.
Tottenham enjoyed a better start to the second half, gaining more possession of the ball and denying Arsenal any opportunities to create attacks.
Lehmann had a lucky escape on 64 minutes when he appeared to push Defoe inside the box as he waited for a corner, but Riley refused to punish the German and only gave him a warning.
Two minutes later from Carrick's corner Dawson headed his effort over the crossbar and onto the top of the netting as Spurs went in search of an equaliser.
The impressive Senderos really should have scored his first goal for Arsenal on 68 minutes when he got on the end of Reyes' free kick inside the six-yard box, but the young Swiss star powered his header over the top.
Kolo Toure was inches away from doubling the lead on 73 minutes when he let fly with a ferocious shot from fully 30 yards out which flew just over the crossbar.
Arsenal were now back in the ascendancy and substitute Edu was unlucky not to score on 74 minutes when he collected a pass from Pires on the edge of the box and curled a shot against the outside of the post.
The home side then opened up the Spurs defence with some fine first touch passing with Gilberto playing Reyes in on goal, but the Spaniard wasted the chance by slicing his shot into the side-netting.
Reyes created an opening for substitute Dennis Bergkamp seven minutes from time with an electric run from inside his own half past two Tottenham challenges before passing to the Dutchman who saw his curling shot sail just wide of the target.
With Tottenham pushing more and more men forward Arsenal were happy to try and catch them on the break and they almost did when Reyes played Edu in on goal, but Edman got in well to block his shot.
Tottenham should have equalised three minutes from time when Reid picked out substitute Robbie Keane six yards out in front of goal, but the Republic of Ireland ace headed his effort wide of the target.
The visitors had claims for a penalty turned down on 89 minutes when Cole fell on the ball inside the box under pressure from Keane with the Irishman claiming the defender had handled the ball, but Riley waved away their appeals.
Arsenal held on for the win and it means that Chelsea now have to wait until they play Bolton on Saturday before they can claim the title for the first time in 50 years.
|Arsenal||Team Statistics||Tottenham Hotspur|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|1||Shots on Target||1|
|10||Shots off Target||7|
Barclays Premier League
|5||West Ham United||18||31|
|15||West Bromwich Albion||18||17|
|16||Queens Park Rangers||18||17|