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Arsenal crush Middlesbrough to join Man United at the top
( 2003-08-25 09:57) (Agencies)

Sylvain Wiltord scored twice as Arsenal romped to a 4-0 win at Middlesbrough on Sunday that put them level with champions Manchester United at the top of the English premier league.

Arsenal and United, who have an identical goal difference of five, and Chelsea are the only sides on maximum points after two matches. United and Chelsea both won 2-1 on Saturday, at Newcastle United and at home to Leicester City respectively.

Aston Villa and Liverpool picked up their first points of the season in an entertaining 0-0 draw at Villa Park earlier on Sunday.

Striker Thierry Henry put Arsenal in front in the fifth minute with a low right-foot shot after Boro keeper Mark Schwarzer had pushed away Freddie Ljungberg's attempt.

Brazil's Gilberto increased the lead when he drove home a low shot from a Robert Pires pass and Arsenal went three up when Wiltord scored from Henry's cross from the left.

Wiltord made it four on the hour. Defender Sol Campbell sent a fine low ball up to the unmarked Ljungberg who broke through the defence on the right to square it for Wiltord to side-foot the ball into the roof of the net.

Middlesbrough's Brazilian playmaker Juninho hit a fine left footed shot that brought a good diving save from Arsenal's German keeper Jens Lehmann midway through the second half.

Boro paraded their new loan signings Gaizka Mendieta of Spain and England's Danny Mills before kickoff but neither played.


At Villa Park, the goalkeepers had plenty of work and made some outstanding saves as both sides created numerous chances, with Liverpool's new forward Harry Kewell guilty of a glaring miss in the 10th minute.

Villa's Danish goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen parried El Hadji Diouf's volley from the right in the 10th minute and Kewell had only to turn the rebound into the net. But the Australian misdirected the ball just wide with his weaker right foot.

Villa, marginally the better side, were unlucky when Colombian forward Juan Pablo Angel's curling free kick on the hour came back off the top of Jerzy Dudek's near post.

Sorensen made a brilliant flying save seven minutes later to tip Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy's shot over the bar when it was heading for the top corner.

Villa midfielder Gareth Barry was wide of the far post with a low shot in the 73rd from Vassell's square pass.

Liverpool might have snatched victory but Sorensen made another brilliant diving save near the foot of his left hand post five minutes from time.

The Dane parried John Arne Riise's header from a corner and Michael Owen's point-blank shot from the rebound went just wide.

Sorensen and midfielder Gavin McCann, both signed by Villa manager David O'Leary from relegated Sunderland for a combined fee of 4.5 million pounds ($7 million), stood out for their new side.

"I was given a small budget of just under four million pounds to spend on players... I think I'm a good judge of players and that I spent the money well," O'Leary said.

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