Arsenal trounce Birmingham to restore lead at top

Thierry Henry scores twice to bring up his 100th goal for Arsenal on Sunday as the English champions romp to a 4-0 victory at Birmingham City.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Thierry Henry scored twice to bring up his 100th goal for Arsenal on Sunday as the English champions romped to a 4-0 victory at Birmingham City. The result restored Arsenal's five-point lead over Manchester United at the top of the Premiership, while Birmingham stay in 15th place. The clash between Premiership leaders Arsenal and Birmingham City on Sunday was delayed by half-an-hour due to floodlight failure. The game was about to kick off when the ground was plunged into darkness by a power cut - leaving Birmingham coach Steve Bruce and his Arsenal counterpart, Arsene Wenger, literally in the dark about when the game would start. Power was eventually gradually restored and the game was finally able to get underway. When it did, Bruce probably wished the floodlights would go out again. After just six minutes the Blues defence was ripped open as Thierry Henry coolly tucked away his 19th goal of the season. Dennis Bergkamp was the provider as Henry timed his run perfectly to take the pass in his stride and round Nico Vaesen before firing home. Vaesen then produced a stunning save to keep out a close-range volley from Edu following an inswinging Henry corner. The early signs were ominous for the home side although new signing Christophe Dugarry was showing some nice touches on his debut. Birmingham tried to drag themselves back into the match but after 29 minutes a stunning goal from Robert Pires doubled Arsenal's lead. Michael Johnson and Sylvain Wiltord tussled for the ball and it broke to Pires who hammered a superb volley past Vaesen from the edge of the area. The home side now had a mountain to climb if they were going to claw their way back into the match. There were fewer goalscoring opportunities in the second half but after 67 minutes Arsenal struck for the third time. Vaesen punched the ball out from an Edu corner to Bergkamp and he crossed it back into the area where it was met by the head of Lauren, under pressure from Michael Johnson, and the ball looped into the net. Then Henry completed the scoring after 70 minutes with a close-range effort after good play by Pires and Wiltord. It was the Frenchman's 100th goal in the Premiership and it sealed the win which restored Arsenal's five-point lead at the top of the table. (AP)