Sunday 12th November 2006 (4pm) @ The Emirates Stadium

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GOALS: Flamini 41, Toure 56, Gallas 80.

LIVERPOOL TEAM: (4-4-2) - Rafa kept his back four and keeper from the last Premiership game, but Momo's absence meant Zenden and Gonzalez were brought in. Crouch and Kuyt kept their places up front.





Carragher ][


Alonso ][



Unused Subs: Dudek, Warnock
][ = Yellow Card
Name = goalscorer and time(s)

Agger for Hyypia (82)
Pennant for Gonzalez (61) ][
Bellamy for Crouch (71)


Arsenal: Almunia, Eboue, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Hleb, Silva,Fabregas, Flamini, Van Persie (Adebayor 85), Henry. Subs Not Used: Poom, Senderos, Hoyte, Walcott. Booked: Van Persie, Flamini.

Att: 60,110
Ref: M Clattenburg (Co Durham)


Rafa Benitez post match interview (RealPlayer)



Crouch reacts to being given offside
Bolo Zenden struggled to contain Flamini
Crouch attempts to get the ball from Hleb


Arsenal moved up to third in the Barclays Premiership and all but ended Liverpool's title hopes with a 3-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners had suffered a difficult spell of late with home draws against Everton and CSKA Moscow followed by a defeat at West Ham which saw manager Arsene Wenger involved in a touchline bust-up with Alan Pardew.

But there were no such problems on Saturday with goals from Mathieu Flamini, Kolo Toure and William Gallas securing a sixth Premiership win and close the gap on leaders Manchester United to eight points with a game in hand.

Liverpool and Arsenal are scheduled to meet in the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup next month but today was all about making up ground on United and Chelsea.

Following an impeccably observed minute's silence on Remembrance Sunday, there was an electric start to the match when Robin van Persie was shown a yellow card inside the opening two minutes by referee Mark Clattenburg.

The Dutchman looked to latch onto a quick pass on the edge of the area but clearly handled the ball past advancing Reds goalkeeper Pepe Reina before slotting into an empty net and then pleading his innocence.

At the other end Dirk Kuyt tried to loop the ball back over Manuel Almunia - in for Jens Lehmann, who had a throat infection - after getting the better of Gallas, but his effort dropped over the crossbar.

On 12 minutes Reina got down quickly to stop Alexander Hleb's low drive before

the visitors then had an effort disallowed for offside when Peter Crouch touched in Xabi Alonso's low centre.

In stark contrast to most of the matches at the Emirates Stadium this season Liverpool looked to take the game to their hosts and Kuyt shot from distance but it was straight at Almunia.

A flowing run and cross by Thierry Henry down the left saw John Arne Riise make a desperate clearance at the far post, with Hleb waiting for a tap in.

It was end-to-end action and after 28 minutes a Liverpool free-kick from the left was worked cleverly across goal with Bolo Zenden firing just over on the turn from 12 yards.

Neither side were able to dominate possession but Arsenal eventually took the lead on 41 minutes.

Hleb ducked inside from the right and to the edge of the penalty area before slipping in Cesc Fabregas.

The Spaniard cut the ball back across the six-yard box where Flamini got ahead of Jamie Carragher to stab his side in front.

It was only the third Arsenal goal for the French midfielder, who replaced the injured Tomas Rosicky in the starting XI, and his celebrations with the home fans earned him a caution.

Liverpool started the second half brightly but were 2-0 down on 56 minutes following a fine move.

Fabregas and Henry exchanged a one-two just inside the Liverpool half and the ball was then fed to van Persie, who eventually got it under control and delayed his pass perfectly through to Toure.

The Ivory Coast defender kept his nerve to produce a cool finish, slotting past Reina from just inside the area.

The visitors were clearly stunned by conceding when they had been so dominant, Zenden heading over following a free-kick from the right.

On the hour mark, Carragher, booked early on, was fortunate not to have been sent off for what looked a second bookable offense when he clattered into van Persie.

The referee, though, deemed a stern talking to enough of a reprimand, much to the displeasure of Arsenal boss Wenger.

Steven Gerrard's fierce strike was then deflected over as Liverpool looked to get themselves back into the match.

Crouch was replaced by Craig Bellamy before referee Clattenburg needed treatment after being struck by the ball.

Arsenal wrapped up the points with 10 minutes left when Gallas was left unmarked in the six-yard box to head home from a corner.

Bellamy's header was then ruled out for offside which just about summed up the afternoon for the visitors and substitute Emmanuel Adebayor should have made it four with two minutes left but fired straight at Reina.

Jim van Wikj, PA Sport

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BBC Sport
Phil McNulty Match Report

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Match Report filed: 12th November 2006