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Middlesbrough do Arsenal a favour

Published: Saturday 10 April 2004, 18.26CET
Chelsea FC missed the chance to close the gap on English Premiership leaders Arsenal FC.

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Published: Saturday 10 April 2004, 18.26CET

Middlesbrough do Arsenal a favour

Chelsea FC missed the chance to close the gap on English Premiership leaders Arsenal FC.
Chelsea FC missed the chance to close the gap on English Premiership leaders Arsenal FC after being held 0-0 at home by Middlesbrough FC, but title-holders Manchester United FC may yet have a part to play after a 2-1 victory at Birmingham City FC.

Chelsea denied
With Arsenal coming from behind to beat Liverpool FC on Friday, Chelsea needed a win to close the gap to their UEFA Champions League victims back to four points. But mid-table Middlesbrough held on to deny their hosts, and Arsenal can extend the gap tomorrow when they return to action against Newcastle United FC, with Chelsea then in Bank Holiday Monday action at Aston Villa FC.

Saha winner
United's championship hopes seemed to be virtually extinguished when Martin Grainger's 39th-minute free-kick gave Birmingham the advantage. However, Cristiano Ronaldo headed in Ryan Giggs' cross on the hour to level and the Welsh winger was also the provider for Louis Saha's 79th-minute winner. United still trail Arsenal by 12 points.

Villa held
Birmingham remain sixth after local rivals Villa were held
2-2 by Bolton Wanderers FC despite leading twice. Peter Crouch's opener was cancelled out by Henrik Pedersen, and although Lee Hendrie restored the advantage, Kevin Davies volleyed Bolton level four minutes from time.

Portsmouth point
Charlton Athletic FC also missed the chance to overtake Birmingham as they were held 1-1 by lowly Portsmouth FC. Shaun Bartlett headed Charlton into an eight-minute lead, but Aiyegbeni Yakubu equalised in the second half.

Leeds delight
Portsmouth are now only out of the bottom three on goal difference after Leeds United AFC's crucial 2-1 win at Blackburn Rovers FC brought all three teams level on points. Stephen Caldwell scored his first goal for Leeds two minutes in and Mark Viduka added another on 89 minutes, meaning Craig Short's added-time header came too late.

Wolves frustrated
Leeds are still the team in the relegation zone, but are three points ahead of Leicester City FC, beaten 2-0 by Fulham FC. Wolverhampton Wanderers FC are a further three points behind after being denied their first-ever Premiership away win when Shaun Wright-Phillips scored a last-gasp equaliser to give Manchester City FC a precious point in a dramatic
3-3 draw.

Bank Holiday fixtures
However, Wolves, like the other Premiership teams, will have chance to pick up points again when another full programme is played out tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday.

Last updated: 11/04/04 18.06CET

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