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Premier League: Henry lifts Gunners' spirits

Thierry Henry's 200th goal for Arsenal helped the Gunners end a difficult week on a high with a 2-0 win at Birmingham on Saturday.

india Updated: Feb 05, 2006 14:50 IST

Thierry Henry's 200th goal for Arsenal helped the Gunners end a difficult week on a high with a 2-0 win at Birmingham on Saturday.

Alan Shearer also celebrated a landmark day, his 201st goal for managerless Newcastle sealing a 2-0 victory over Portsmouth as well as making the former England forward the highest scorer in the club's history.

Manchester United bounced back from a midweek defeat by Blackburn with a 4-2 defeat of Fulham at Old Trafford, cutting Chelsea's lead at the top of the table to 12 points ahead of the champions' meeting with Liverpool on Sunday.

Goals from Park Ji-Sung, Fulham old boy Louis Saha and two from Cristiano Ronaldo got United back on a winning track. Brian McBride and Heidar Helguson found the net for Fulham.

Despite the win, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson admitted Chelsea would have to make "catastrophic mistakes" to lose the title at this stage.

"I think the sensible opinion is that Chelsea have got the title as long as they don't throw it away," Ferguson said.

"But you never know. Tomorrow I'll have my red and white scarf on supporting Liverpool," he added with a grin.

Henry reached his milestone mid-way through the second half after team-mate Emmanuel Adebayor, on his full debut, had headed a makeshift Arsenal side into a 21st-minute lead.

There was good news off the pitch as well for manager Arsene Wenger with troubled defender Sol Campbell, who had gone missing after a midweek defeat by West Ham, confirming he would be back at training on Monday.

Wenger said the England centreback would be welcomed back with open arms despite the continuing mystery as to the precise nature of his problems.

"There was no acrimony, it was just he was not well and you have to accept that," Wenger added. "There is no bad feeling at all. You can only, at that level, perform if you are in a good state and he wasn't."

Newcastle made a positive start to life after Graeme Souness, who was sacked on Thursday, with a convincing victory over second-from-bottom Portsmouth.

Charles N'Zogbia put the Magpies ahead five minutes before the break.

Shearer, who is acting as a temporary assistant to caretaker manager Glenn Roeder, then made the points safe with a goal that took him past Jackie Milburn's club record.

"It couldn't have been more perfect," said stand-in boss Glenn Roeder. "For the team to win 2-0, for Shay Given to keep a clean sheet and then to throw Alan's record-breaking goal into the mix— it was just what we needed."

Steve McClaren's chances of becoming the next England manager suffered another hammer blow when his Middlesbrough side slumped to an embarrassing 4-0 home defeat at the hands of Aston Villa.

A hat-trick from Luke Moore and a Kevin Phillips strike saw Boro slip to just one place above the relegation zone.

West Brom jumped above McClaren's free-falling side with an impressive 2-0 over Blackburn. Kevin Campbell, on his 36th birthday, and midfielder Jonathan Greening got the goals that will further buoy the Baggies hopes of Premiership survival.

Everton's climb up the table continued with a 1-0 win over Manchester City, who had midfielder Stephen Jordan sent off in the closing stages. Scotland defender David Weir claimed Everton's eighth-minute winner.

Anders Johansson, with his first Premiership goal, rescued a point for Wigan at Bolton, who had gone ahead in the 63rd minute through Greek midfielder Stelios Giannakopoulos.

West Ham condemned Sunderland to their 19th defeat in 24 matches this season thanks to late goals from new signing Dean Ashton and Paul Konchesky.

First Published: Feb 05, 2006 14:50 IST