Freddie Ljungberg and Jose Antonio Reyes were on the scoresheet last night as Arsenal kept the pressure up on their north London rivals going into the last weekend of the 2005/2006 season. Arsenal are 1 point behind Spurs who visit West Ham on Sunday, while the Gunners entertain Wigan in the last ever match at Highbury.
Henry acted as provider for Freddie’s goal, slipping a pass through the defence. Replays showed Freddie was marginally offside, but he managed to get his shot past David James and into the far corner of the net. In some ways the fact that this was his first goal of the season reflects the underperformance of Arsenal this season.
Man City drew level 9 minutes later from a corner, when David Sommeil scored from a yard out following a scramble in the box. Lehmann might have done better, but Vasell’s touch didn’t turn out to be the shot the German was expecting, and his reactions were not enough to turn it out of the path of the Frenchman.
Lehmann was in one of his belligerent moods during the match, and constantly complained to Graham Poll about being shoved and pushed. He managed to provoke Vasell into pushing him over by treading on his toe, and Vasell ended up with a yellow card. Despite these shenanigans, Lehmann pulled off some excellent saves in the second half to keep Man City’s score down.
Reyes, Pires, and Fabregas were introduced midway through the second half, and Arsenal benifited from Cesc’s vision and passing. Reyes’ first came from an overlapping run with Eboue, who cut the ball back from the byline for Reyes to slot it home under James to retake the lead.
Six minutes later Henry was provider again, as he maurauded into the box before calmly passing to Reyes, who proceeded to curl a beauty of a shot into the top left corner.
The three goals went to two Arsenal players who have been misfiring for most of the season. Hopefully these tastes of goal will help them on Sunday against Wigan, and on May 17th against Barcelona.
There’s a full match report over at Arsenal.com.
Next up, the conclusion of the battle for 4th place, and the final farewell to Highbury.