Sunday 26 December 2004, 1:00pm at Highbury, London
Barclays Premier League
Henry 12'; Bergkamp 71'
Fulham FC

12' Goal

Thierry Henry

71' Goal

Dennis Bergkamp

43' Yellow Card

Patrick Vieira Card was given for a foul

76' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Mathieu Flamini
Off:Fredrik Ljungberg

78' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Robin van Persie
Off:Dennis Bergkamp

39' Yellow Card

Zesh Rehman Card was given for a foul

83' Yellow Card

Moritz Volz Card was given for a foul

66' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Brian McBride
Off:Andrew Cole

81' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Steed Malbranque
Off:Zesh Rehman

Arsenal disposed of Fulham in impressive fashion at Highbury on Boxing Day.

Chelsea are flying high at the top of The Premiership but they will have a fight on their hands to stay there, judged on Arsenal's performance on Boxing Day.

The Gunners never gave Fulham a chance to get a foothold in the game and goals from Thierry Henry and Robert Pires downed The Cottagers.

Arsenal approached the game with a real spring in their step, with Pires finding space in the middle of the park, but the final ball was lacking in the early moments. At the other end, Andy Cole and Tomasz Radzinski were willing runners for Chris Coleman, but there was little service from an overworked midfield.

Arsenal's hunger to win the ball reaped dividends on 12 minutes, as Fulham were forced to concede possession and Pires and the returning Fredrik Ljungberg combined to send in Henry for the opener.

Henry still had plenty to do when sent scampering into the left of the box, but his quick feet prompted Ian Pearce to dive in and slide beyond the Frenchman. Once faced with just Edwin van der Sar, there was only likely to be one outcome and so it proved as Henry rolled the ball into the far corner.

As if they needed it, Arsenal took great confidence from the goal and continued to carve out chances. Van der Sar made a fine save from a low shot from Pires which in truth lacked power, while The Gunners were also alert at the back as Kolo Toure snuffed out a run from Cole and Patrick Vieira tracked back with relish to dispossess Radzinski near his own corner flag.

Vieira was popping up in all areas of the pitch and he came within a whisker of connecting with a fine pass from Pires, while on 30 minutes he forced van der Sar into a superb low save with his left hand.

The second half mirrored the first, with Arsenal playing with a spring in their step, and Henry went close with a free kick from the edge of the box.

Pires thought he had put the game beyond doubt when finding his way beyond the Fulham defence, but van der Sar was his equal. Fulham took an hour to conjure up a chance, but Collins John's effort was hardly worthy of the name.

Manuel Almunia could have been forgiven for being cold, but he made an important save on 64 minutes, as he came off his line at pace to smother Radzinski's shot before it had time to get over him.

Pires was at the heart of Arsenal's positive play and he teed up Henry who fired in a fizzing drive which crashed to safety off the post.

Arsenal were not frustrated at not killing the game off earlier and their perseverance was rewarded 20 minutes from time when Pires got the goal his performance deserved.

Dennis Bergkamp found the ball at his feet six yards out and he unselfishly squared the ball to Pires and he slotted the ball past van der Sar to secure a deserved three points for The Gunners.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Sunday 26 December 2004
Kick-off: 1:00pm

Venue: Highbury, London
Attendance: 38,047

Referee: Barry Knight


Line-up: Almunia; Lauren, Touré, Campbell, Clichy; Ljungberg (Flamini 76'), Fábregas, Vieira, Pires; Henry, Bergkamp (van Persie 78')

Unused substitutes: Lehmann, Senderos, Pennant


Line-up: Van der Sar; Volz, Pearce, Knight, Bocanegra; Radzinski, Diop, Rehman (Malbranque 81'), Pembridge; John, Cole (McBride 66')

Unused substitutes: Crossley, Fontaine, Legwinski

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Chelsea 19 46
2 Arsenal 19 41
3 Everton 18 37
4 Manchester United 18 34
5 Middlesbrough 18 32
6 Liverpool 18 28
7 Charlton Athletic 19 28
8 Portsmouth 19 26
9 Tottenham Hotspur 18 25
10 Aston Villa 19 25
11 Manchester City 18 23
12 Bolton Wanderers 18 23
13 Newcastle United 18 21
14 Birmingham City 18 20
15 Fulham 19 18
16 Blackburn Rovers 18 15
17 Norwich City 18 15
18 Crystal Palace 19 14
19 Southampton 19 14
20 West Bromwich Albion 18 10
Arsenal (4-4-2)
  • 1Manuel Almunia
  • 4Lauren
  • 5Kolo Touré
  • 5Sol Campbell
  • 22Gaël Clichy
  • 8Fredrik Ljungberg
  • 4Francesc Fábregas
  • 24Patrick Vieira
  • 7Robert Pires
  • 14Thierry Henry
  • 10Dennis Bergkamp
  • 1Jens Lehmann
  • 6Philippe Senderos
  • 7Jermaine Pennant
  • 16Mathieu Flamini
  • 10Robin van Persie
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 35Ian Pearce
  • 6Zat Knight
  • 34Carlos Bocanegra
  • 17Tomasz Radzinski
  • 14Papa Bouba Diop
  • 21Zesh Rehman
  • 7Mark Pembridge
  • 17Collins John
  • 8Andrew Cole
  • 12Mark Crossley
  • 4Liam Fontaine
  • 4Steed Malbranque
  • 5Sylvain Legwinski
  • 8Brian McBride