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Rediff News  All News  » Sports » Fabregas rescues Arsenal as Man Utd win away

Fabregas rescues Arsenal as Man Utd win away

October 05, 2008 08:20 IST

A rare header by Cesc Fabregas three minutes into injury time earned Arsenal a 1-1 draw on Saturday after hosts Sunderland seemed on course for an upset victory in the Premier League.

Manchester United edged closer to the leading pack with a 2-0 win at a rain-sodden Blackburn Rovers after goals from Wes Brown and Wayne Rooney.

There was late drama at Wigan Athletic where Jeremie Aliadiere claimed the only goal in the 89th minute to give Middlesbrough maximum points while West Bromwich Albion beat Fulham 1-0 with a Roman Bednar goal.

Chelsea, who welcome Aston Villa on Sunday, lead the table with 14 points on goal difference from Liverpool, who visit Manchester City the same day.

Arsenal and Villa have 13 points while West Ham United, who host Bolton Wanderers on Sunday, are on 12. Manchester United have 11 points.

A week ago Arsenal lost 2-1 at home to Hull City but roared back to beat Porto 4-0 in the Champions League with a performance manager Arsene Wenger said was their most complete of the season.

But the Frenchman was left shaking his head in frustration for long spells on Saturday as his side were too easily kept at arm's length by Sunderland.


Arsenal were denied a goal early in the second half when Robin van Persie turned in a Theo Walcott cross only for the linesman to rule the ball had gone out of play.

Grant Leadbitter entered the fray as an 84th-minute substitute for Sunderland and took two minutes to make his mark when he lashed in a shot via the underside of the bar.

Arsenal poured forward and levelled from an unlikely source when Spain midfielder Fabregas headed in Van Persie's corner.

"It's frustrating. Sunderland didn't come out, they didn't try to play but they defended very well," Wenger told Sky Sports.

"We had a good attitude ... that tells you a lot about the team and about Cesc as a man, he refuses to lose. Heading is not his strength but he scored with a good header."

Sunderland manager Roy Keane defended his tactics.

"The temptation for me is to have a go but you look at Arsenal's last few away games, particularly (how good they are) on the break," he said.

"I thought we were outstanding, we had a lot of discipline and had to do a lot of defending."

Manchester United were all over Blackburn and should have won by more goals.

Brown headed in after 31 minutes when home keeper Jason Brown, arguing he was fouled, dropped a cross and Rooney swept in the second in the 64th from a low Cristiano Ronaldo centre.

"It was our best performance of the season in terms of possession," said United manager Alex Ferguson. "It's always a difficult ground for us but today everyone was on song.

"The first 10 minutes was hammer and tongs but once we got the ball down and started passing we took control."

Asked about Rooney's contribution, he added: "That was his best performance of the season. He was full of energy".

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