Chelsea 2 Arsenal 3
Nigel Winterburn is the pride of north London after launching Arsenal into
title orbit and puncturing 10-man Chelsea's Premiership dream.
The one-time England defender speared a sensational winner a minute from the
end at Stamford Bridge to take Arsene Wenger's team into second place, just a
point behind champions Manchester United.
There seemed little danger when the 33-year-old left-back picked up Emmanuel
Petit's pass 25 yards out, but he swung his left foot and sent a wicked shot
swerving past a startled Ed de Goey into the far corner.
It was his first goal in 18 months and only his eighth in some 350 League
appearances for the Gunners, but what a priceless one.
Two goals from Dennis Bergkamp had been traded off against those from Gustavo
Poyet and Gianfranco Zola's first of the season.
Both sides showed they had the class to stage a genuine championship challenge
to England's north-west giants.
But a second yellow card for Ruud Gullit's French defender, Frank Leboeuf,
sent off by harassed Banbury referee Dermot Gallagher, underlined just why
London has such a poor League record of just four crowns in the last 37 years.
With six clubs in the Premiership and such fierce rivalries as this one, they
so often cut each other's throats and batter each other to a standstill, which
is why Winterburn's strike could be one of the most vital of the season.
But even he cannot overshadow Arsenal's non-flying Dutchman, Bergkamp, who may
hate planes, but loves travelling.
Back in the side after staying at home as Arsenal flew to Greece and lost in
Europe this week, he was soon back on cloud nine with two more goals to take his
season's tally to seven - all scored away from Highbury.
Neither was in the class that earned him one-two-three in Match of the Day's
goal of the month for August, but he was always the star of the show.
And he was such a handful that he forced the usually cool Leboeuf into two
reckless cautionable trips that cost him any further participation after 67
Chelsea, who have now scored 21 goals in seven games, go to Old Trafford on
Wednesday knowing that unless they bounce back with a stunning win, they could
have lost fatal Premiership ground before the turn of the month.
With 19 internationals from six nations on show, including some of the
Premiership's best imports, this was a mouthwatering prospect.
But inevitably there was so much at stake it took time for flair to dominate
among the flying tackles and muscle.
Chelsea - retaining the same strikeforce for the first time in consecutive
matches this season, Gianluca Vialli and Zola - soon had the upper hand.
But Zola volleyed high and not very handsome from Dan Petrescu's cross, while
Steve Bould threw himself in front of Poyet's shot after Vialli spun Tony Adams,
starting his first League game of the season.
The home defence was crudely uncompromising, but Bergkamp's fancy feet carried
him in a mazy run past four players, only for his cross to fly far beyond the
supporting Gunners arriving at the back post.
Leboeuf collected the first of his two bookings for cutting down Bergkamp on
the margin of the penalty area, while Ray Parlour countered Chelsea's aggression
with biting tackles of his own, enjoying his bruising encounters with Dennis
Wise and Graeme Le Saux.
The game desperately needed a goal to give a better shape and suddenly in the
last five minutes from the break it had one apiece.
But Arsenal were deeply aggrieved to fall behind to a 40th minute corner that
should never have been awarded, replays showing clearly that Vialli headed
They were still complaining when Wise crossed from the left to pick outthe
unmarked Michael Duberry, who could surely have scored himself, but headed down
for the equally unattended Poyet to sweep it past Lee Dixon on the line.
However, in the final seconds of the half Arsenal levelled, Patrick Vieira
curling a cross on to the head of Ian Wright, who placed it neatly into the path
of his Dutch partner and his deadly right foot did the rest from 14 yards.
Chelsea - who had to replace Petrescu with Mark Nicholls, as the Romanian was
suffering from a stomach - had Wise booked for a foul on Vieira, but it was
amazing the big Frenchman did not join him for a bad foul on Roberto Di Matteo
and a kick which caught Zola on the ear.
Bould headed just wide from Bergkamp's cross and then the Dutchman forced a
great one-handed save from de Goey from Petit's cross.
But on the hour he sparked another exchange of goals, courtesy of Duberry,
whose attempted clearance of a Wright header was launched high in the air in his
The England Under-21 defender shoved aside Leboeuf to get to the dropping ball
first, but only glanced it out to Bergkamp, whose measured shot gave fellow
Dutchman de Goey no chance.
But while Arsenal were still celebrating, they were caught badly short on the
right and Mark Hughes, sent on for Vialli four minutes earlier, angled a low
cross behind Adams for Zola to bundle in the ball off his shins.
Tore Andre Flo immediately replaced Di Matteo and was soon fouled by Bould,
who was booked.
But in the 67th minute disaster struck Chelsea when Leboeuf tripped Bergkamp
again and was shown yellow followed by red.
Plenty of other players, notably Wise, could have joined him for an early bath
and Bergkamp collected his fourth booking - one short of suspension.
But both sides looked to have settled for a point apiece before Winterburn
produced his dramatic final flourish.
Chelsea: De Goey, Petrescu (Nicholls 45), Leboeuf, Poyet,
Vialli (M. Hughes 57), Wise, Duberry, Le Saux,
Di Matteo (Flo 61), P. Hughes, Zola.
Subs Not Used: Hitchcock, Myers.
Sent Off: Leboeuf (67).
Booked: Leboeuf, Wise.
Goals: Poyet 40, Zola 60.
Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Winterburn, Vieira, Bould, Adams, Wright,
Bergkamp, Overmars (Grimandi 90), Parlour (Boa Morte 88), Petit.
Subs Not Used: Anelka, Manninger, Upson.
Booked: Bould, Bergkamp, Grimandi.
Goals: Bergkamp 45, 59, Winterburn 89.
Ref: D J Gallagher (Banbury).