posted on Nov, 20 2004 @ 02:11 PM
Defending champions Arsenal missed the chance to go top of the Barclays Premiership after being held to a 1-1 draw at Highbury as struggling West Brom
earned new manager Bryan Robson his first point.
After a goalless first half the Gunners made the breakthrough in the 54th minute courtesy of a blunder from goalkeeper Russell Hoult. Robert Pires
curled in a shot and although Hoult got both hands on it he allowed it to slip through his grasp and it trickled into the net. Pascal Cygan missed a
close-range free header on the hour while Dennis Bergkamp had a goal disallowed for offside and it was to cost Arsenal as Baggies substitute Robert
Earnshaw snatched an equaliser at the far post in the 79th minute.
Goals from Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes in a 10-minute spell either side of half-time lifted Manchester United briefly into fourth place after their
2-0 victory over Charlton in the early kick-off at Old Trafford.
However, Middlesbrough reclaimed that spot with a 2-0 victory over Liverpool. Defender Chris Riggott planted home a shot in the 36th minute before
Luis Garcia struck what he thought was an equaliser two minutes before the interval but it was wrongly ruled out for offside, the pass having actually
come off a Middlesbrough defender. Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer made a save from point-blank range from Harry Kewell's header just after the interval
before Steven Gerrard made his long-awaited comeback from a broken foot 10 minutes into the second half. However, he could not prevent Bolo Zenden
dinking a second over Chris Kirkland's body in the 62nd minute.
At the other end of the table Norwich recorded their first win of the season - and their first in the Premiership since March 20 1995 - with a 2-1
triumph at home to Southampton. Norwich appeared to be enjoying most of the possession but were hit with a sucker punch when, after 24 minutes, James
Beattie fired home from the edge of the penalty area across Canaries' goalkeeper Robert Green. However, the equaliser came when Leon Mackenzie crossed
to Damien Francis to side-foot into an empty net off the inside of a post in the 28th minute. Francis then buried a header from six yards from a
52nd-minute corner and the home side withstood the barrage to finally ignite their season and lift them off the bottom of the table.
Everton continue to confound the critics after a 1-0 victory at home to Fulham maintained third place. Second-half substitute Duncan Ferguson stooped
to head home the only goal in the 67th minute after Mark Crossley had pushed away Kevin Kilbane's cross.
Patrick Kluivert's clever back-heel in the 79th minute and Craig Bellamy's 88th-minute strike was enough to earn Newcastle a 2-0 victory against
Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
However, the leaders missed the chance to take advantage of Arsenal's slip as they surrendered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2. They did not waste any
time in signalling their intentions with Damien Duff taking the ball around goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen inside the first minute. Arjen Robben's
cross allowed Tiago to make it 2-0 just three minutes into the second half but then goalkeeper Petr Cech missed a 52nd-minute cross and the ball went
in off Kevin Davies. Then three minutes from time Radhi Jaidi snatched an equaliser for the visitors.
In the evening game, Manchester City cantered to a 3-1 victory at Portsmouth. Shaun Wright-Phillips put his Madrid nightmare behind him to open the
scoring after six minutes only for the home side to level 90 seconds later through Gary O'Neill. There was an element of controversy when Antoine
Sibierski put City ahead 11 minutes from time as Robbie Fowler appeared to have run the ball out during the build-up. But any argument was banished
three minutes from time when Paul Bosvelt hammered in the third. Portsmouth lost their third league match in a row as they went down 3-1 to Manchester
City at Fratton Park. Shaun Wright-Phillips opened the scoring for the visitors after just six minutes but Gary O'Neil equalised within two minutes.
Antoine Sibierski put City ahead again 11 minutes from time and Paul Bosvelt rolled in the third to make it safe for Kevin Keegan's side late on.