Boro end Arsenal's unbeaten run | sports | Hindustan Times
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Boro end Arsenal's unbeaten run

Arsenal's unbeaten run finally comes to an end as they lose to bottom-placed club Middlesbrough at the Riverside.

sports Updated: Dec 10, 2007 12:27 IST

Middlesbrough inflicted leaders Arsenal's first Premier League defeat of the season with a 2-1 win at the Riverside on Sunday.

The loss left Arsenal just a point ahead of second-placed Manchester United.

Stewart Downing, with a fourth-minute penalty, and Tuncay Sanli, with a close-range strike 16 minutes from time, scored for Middlesbrough.

Tomas Rosicky pulled a goal back in the fifth minute of stoppage time but it was too late for Arsenal.

The result gave Boro, who started Sunday in the relegation zone, only their third win in the Premiership this season.

Just as on Wednesday against Newcastle, Arsenal were without key midfielders Cesc Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini and Alexander Hleb and the result revived concerns over whether they have a sufficiently strong squad to sustain a title challenge.

But Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had no complaints about the result. "We lost the game because we deserved to lose it," he said. "It's that simple. Middlesbrough were sharper in the fight.

"We missed the start of the game by giving them too much room and it cost a penalty."

Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate, whose sided ended a run of 11 games without a win and climbed out of the bottom three, said he felt the fixture schedule would work against Arsenal.

"Our approach to (the game) was fantastic," Southgate said. "I felt Arsenal having three games in a week was a tall order for them and thought it might be a good day to get them.

"We worked and scrapped and gave a really good account of ourselves."

At White Hart Lane, Tottenham took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Pascal Chimbonda, who City thought was offside, scored.

Jermaine Jenas's free-kick from the left was flicked on by Dimitar Berbatov and wing-back Chimbonda just did enough to turn the ball into the goal.

However, Spurs have struggled to hold onto a lead all season and just after the hour mark City, who've struggled away from home, were level when Rolando Bianchi headed in a corner from Martin Petrov.

Then came Ireland's reckless challenge and, moments later, Spurs were ahead in the 83rd minute when substitute Jermain Defoe was quickest to react after a cross-shot from Steed Malbranque came back of the post.

"I thought it was one of our better away games. I'm not sure we deserved it," said Eriksson who made no attempt to excuse Ireland's red-card.

Bolton, who started on Sunday just two points above Wigan, went ahead through Paul Scharner's own goal when he headed in El Hadji Diouf's left-wing cross.

Denny Landzaat then made the most of a poor clearance by Abdoulaye Meite to draw Wigan level in the 14th minute.

Kevin Nolan made it 2-1 before half-time, after Anelka had missed a penalty, before Kevin Davies made the game safe for Bolton when he turned in a Diouf cross. Anelka added a fourth a minute from time.

"We've got a big job ahead but I knew that when I took the job on," said Wigan manager Steve Bruce.

At Ewood Park, Dean Ashton came off the bench to score the only goal of the game as West Ham won away in the league for the fourth time this season.