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Friday, April 16, 2010

Arsenal dealt huge setback

LONDON (AP) Arsenal missed a chance to move into second place in the Premier League, losing 2-1 Wednesday night to Tottenham, the Gunners' first defeat to their north London rival in 11 years.

News photo
Ready to connect: Arsenal's Robin van Persie (right) moves for the ball against Tottenham's Heurelho Gomes on Wednesday night at White Hart Lane. Spurs won 2-1. AP PHOTO

Danny Rose, a 19-year-old midfielder, scored in the 10th minute of his Premier League debut. Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia punched a ball clear but Rose, whose only previous start for Spurs was in the fourth round of this season's F.A. Cup, sent the ball back and scored with a blistering 30-meter shot.

Gareth Bale doubled the lead in the 47th minute.

Nicklas Bendtner scored in the 85th minute for Arsenal.

"We lost a game we couldn't afford to lose in the title race and that showed we are not mature enough," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "There's too much to do. We're very unlikely now to win the championship.

"Even a point was not enough tonight."

Gunners forward Robert van Persie entered in the 68th minute, his first match since tearing right ankle ligaments Nov. 14 while playing for the Netherlands and getting tackled by Italy's Giorgio Chiellini.

"He looked sharp and dangerous when he came on and transformed our game because up front we were not really efficient," Wenger said.

Former Spurs captain Sol Campbell, now with Arsenal, was jeered raucously every time he touched the ball.

Chelsea (24-5-5) has 77 points and four-point lead over Manchester United (23-7-4) with four games left. Arsenal (22-7-5) is third with 71 points.

Tottenham (18-8-7) has 62 points and moved within one point of fourth-place Manchester City (17-5-11) for the final Champions League berth. Sixth-place Liverpool (16-10-8) is five points behind Spurs.

"I've seen the table and it's a big, big result for us," Tottenham captain Ledley King said.

Aston Villa (14-6-13), seventh with 55 points, tied 2-2 against visiting Everton (13-9-13), which is eighth with 51. Australian midfielder Tim Cahill scored Everton's goals.

Gabriel Agbonlahor beat American goalkeeper Tim Howard in the 72nd minute, and Everton's Phil Jagielka deflected Ashley Young's cross past Howard for an own goal in injury time.

Last-place Portsmouth (6-22-6), already relegated, tied 0-0 at Wigan (8-18-8).

Barcelona cruises

MADRID (AP) Barcelona edged closer to the Spanish League title with a 3-0 victory over Deportivo La Coruna at Nou Camp on Wednesday.

Barcelona now has 83 points, while second-place Real Madrid is on 77 before its match against Almeria on Thursday. Valencia is third on 56 with Mallorca fourth, four points behind.

Barcelona's 19-year-old striker Bojan Krkic opened the scoring in the 15th minute when he collected a precise Xavi Hernandez pass in the penalty area and fired home.

The Catalan team pushed forward with several fast-paced attacks as the second half began, with Lionel Messi shooting just over the bar and Pedro Rodriguez sending a shot just wide minutes later.

Barcelona's second goal arrived in the 68th minute when goalkeeper Victor Valdes made a clearance which Rodriguez controlled in midfield before firing a long-range shot over Deportivo's defense and past stranded goalkeeper Daniel Aranzubia.

Midfielder Yaya Toure completed the scoring when he chested the ball down and turned to smash a right-footed shot with such force that Aranzubia could only deflect it into the top of the net in the 72nd minute.

In Wednesday's other games, Walter Pandiani scored twice to give Osasuna a 2-2 draw with Malaga, while Xerez won 2-1 against Atletico Madrid, Racing Santander beat 10-man Espanyol 3-1 and Zaragoza drew 1-1 with Mallorca.



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