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Arsenal and United Open 'Two-Horse' Race
Financial Times, December 17th, 2007 3:45PM

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They're already calling it a two-horse race for the 2007-08 English Premiership, after Arsenal and Manchester United, first and second in the EPL standings, defeated Chelsea and Liverpool, third and fourth heading into the weekend matches, respectively, on Sunday. Classic encounters they were not, but both United and Arsenal emerged the slightly better side in a pair of 1-0 victories.
 
At Anfield, Carlos Tevez's opportunistic strike in the 43rd minute left Liverpool 10 points adrift league leader Arsenal, and while not exactly an insurmountable lead, the Reds under Rafael Benitez have shown a consistent inability to close such gaps after falling off the pace. Even so, Benitez's job looks to be safe, as the Spaniard on Monday survived his latest meeting with Liverpool's American owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
 
At the Emirates Stadium, a 45th-minute header from former Chelsea defender William Gallas lifted Arsenal to victory in a "tense, messy, unedifying and, in the end, utterly compelling" London derby, says the Financial Times. Avram Grant's men, missing the imperious Didier Drogba, lacked the bite and determination evident in Chelsea sides under Jose Mourinho. That said, the match was fraught with personal confrontations, notably involving Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas and Emmanuel Eboue, and Chelsea's Ashley Cole and John Terry. The latter was forced to leave the game in the second half with a foot injury. At the end of the day, United and Arsenal extended their lead over third-place Chelsea to six and seven points, respectively.

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