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England round-up: Leeds boost Arsenal challenge

Published: Saturday 28 December 2002, 18.01CET
Chelsea FC's 2-0 defeat at Leeds United AFC left Arsenal FC four points clear at the top of the table.

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Published: Saturday 28 December 2002, 18.01CET

England round-up: Leeds boost Arsenal challenge

Chelsea FC's 2-0 defeat at Leeds United AFC left Arsenal FC four points clear at the top of the table.

Arsenal FC are still four points clear at the top of the table after Chelsea FC lost 2-0 at Leeds United AFC on Saturday.

Disappointing defeat
Claudio Ranieri's side could have moved to within one point of the reigning champions with a win this afternoon, but fell to a disappointing defeat at Elland Road against a Leeds side whose home form has been disappointing this season.

Opening goal
With Ranieri ringing the changes following Chelsea's Boxing Day draw against Southampton FC, Jonathan Woodgate lifted the gloom at Elland Road with his first game in two years, heading past Ed de Goey from a Graeme Le Saux corner after five minutes.

Terrific teenager
Chelsea had their chances to pull a goal back before 16-year-old substitute James Milner beat Marcel Desailly and sent a terrific curling shot past De Goey from 18 metres. It was the teenager's second goal of the week, following the strike against Sunderland AFC which saw him become the youngest goalscorer in the history of the English Premiership. Arsenal can extend their lead to seven points if they win at home against Liverpool FC tomorrow.

United ease to victory
Manchester United FC are now level with Chelsea on 38 points after a comfortable 2-0 win against Birmingham City FC - the side managed by former United stalwart Steve Bruce.

Beckham special
With Ruud van Nistelrooij injured, Diego Forlán underlined his claims for a first team place with a close-range volley from a David Beckham knock-down to finally beat Birmingham goalkeeper Nico Vaesen eight minutes from half-time. Beckham turned on the style after 73 minutes to double United's lead with a terrific 20-metre drive and kill off Birmingham's hopes of an equaliser.

Cole delight
Another one-time Old Trafford favourite was celebrating this afternoon, as striker Andrew Cole scored his 150th Premiership goal in Blackburn Rovers FC's 2-2 draw against bottom club West Ham United FC.

Defoe defies Blackburn
Damien Duff had given Blackburn a fourth-minute leader before a Martin Taylor own-goal levelled the score. Cole was on hand to put Rovers ahead again after 78 minutes but Jermaine Defoe capitalised on good work from Ian Pearce to beat Brad Friedel with just two minutes remaining.

Villa victorious
An 84th-minute strike from Nicolas Anelka gave Kevin Keegan's Manchester City FC a 1-0 win at Fulham FC, while Aston Villa FC eased their relegation worries with a 1-0 win at home against Middlesbrough FC. Dion Dublin gave Villa the lead after eleven minutes, and Middlesbrough's Mark Wilson was dismissal for two bookable offences soon afterwards.

Dramatic winner
A late goal gave Southampton FC a dramatic 2-1 win against Sunderland AFC, after Tore André Flo's 77th-minute effort had cancelled out a 74th-minute strike from James Beattie. A long throw from Rory Delap caused chaos in the Sunderland area deep into added time before Jo Tessem stabbed the ball into the net.

Everton held
Elsewhere, Everton FC were held to a 0-0 draw at home against Bolton Wanderers FC, while a sixth-minute strike from Kevin Lisbie was enough to see Charlton Athletic FC beat West Bromwich Albion FC 1-0, despite Scott Dobie rattling the crossbar for the struggling visitors in the last minute of normal time.

Last updated: 29/12/02 17.17CET

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English Premier League 2002/03

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