Coventry fail to make most of openings

Arsenal 1 Coventry City 1

MATT TENCH

Arsenal 1 Coventry City 1

Fittingly for a side managed by the permanently tanned Ron Atkinson, Coventry's performance at Highbury was a bit like a soap opera. Terrific in the opening and closing scenes, they rather lost the plot in between.

As a result they gained a point instead of the three that seemed theirs for the taking, though after an exciting, if patternless game, much the same could also be said for Arsenal.

The visitors made a remarkable start, winning four corners in the first three minutes and forcing excellent saves from David Seaman to deny Richard Shaw and Noel Whelan. Then, just as their early fire began to dim, the Sky Blues suffered 60 seconds that typified their season.

Whelan, freed by Kevin Richardson's intelligent pass, ran clear of the defence before carefully tucking the ball past Seaman. From the kick- off Arsenal sent Glenn Helder down the left and his cross was met by the unmarked Dennis Bergkamp for an instant equaliser. Richardson's anguished expression as the ball was picked out of the net suggested that he had been there before.

Steve Ogrizovic did something to improve his side's defensive reputation with a string of fine saves, notably to twice deny Ian Wright when he was clean through. A frustrating afternoon for the Arsenal captain was completed when his weakly-struck penalty was also thwarted by the Coventry keeper.

By now the game was pleasingly uncertain with its outcome, whatever Tony Blair might say, likely to be settled by effective left-wingers. Both Helder and John Salako had the beating of their full-backs and each seemed capable of creating the winner.

As time wore on this appeared more likely to come from City, for whom Whelan and Dion Dublin have quickly forged one of the Premiership's more complementary partnerships. A period of sustained pressure at the end found an Arsenal back four shorn of Tony Adams, Steve Bould and Martin Keown defending with increasing desperation, a situation that must worry Bruce Rioch with Adams out for at least a month having had keyhole surgery on his knee on Saturday, and Bould also some way from fitness.

Arsenal held out though, which only left Rioch to give the latest spin on his famously unsigned contract. It did not need to be in writing to be binding, he said, a handshake would do. In any case, "Neville Chamberlain came back with a signed contract", which suggested that it might be better for all concerned if the Arsenal manager did not put pen to paper.

Goals: Whelan (23) 0-1; Bergkamp (24).

Arsenal (4-4-1-1): Seaman; Dixon, Linighan, Marshall, Winterburn; Clarke, Merson, Jensen (Hughes, 70), Helder; Bergkamp; Wright. Substitutes not used: Morrow, Hartson.

Coventry City (4-4-2): Ogrizovic; Burrows, Busst, Shaw, Hall; Strachan (Ndlovu, 79), Richardson, Telfer, Salako; Dublin, Whelan. Substitutes not used: Pickering, Filan.

Referee: S W Dunn (Bristol).

Bookings: Coventry: Strachan.

Men of the match: Seaman and Ogrizovic. Attendance: 35,623.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Buyer / Planner

£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity has ar...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Manager

£40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity working ...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Journals Manager

£33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The prime focus of the role is to assist...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks