Portsmouth 1 Arsenal 1: LuaLua's bizarre injury highlights Pompey's somersaulting season

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Nothing captures the raw, utter madness of Portsmouth's dogged attempts to escape relegation more than the events surrounding their vital equalising goal last night which rescued a point and did severe damage to Arsenal's hopes of finishing fourth and qualifying for the Champions' League.

Lomana LuaLua, hardly the tallest of strikers, rose above the visitors' 6ft-plus defenders to head in his seventh goal of the season. He then embarked on an outrageous somersault - before it dawned on him that he had turned his ankle. He immediately limped off. "He still did his triple somersault with pike without realising he'd hurt himself," said his manager, Harry Redknapp, afterwards. "He's a one-off."

LuaLua had already been warned against the celebration for fear of injury and had vowed not to use it again until Portsmouth are safe.

They are not and are still in the bottom three, but only on goal difference. More than that, the belief is pumping through them right now, with five matches unbeaten and an easier run-in, and they appear to have the momentum that, in the League at least, Arsenal lack.

Maybe Arsène Wenger's side will just have to win that European Cup after all if they are to be in the competition next year instead of Tottenham Hotspur. They certainly cannot rely on away form. They have taken just 16 on their travels from a possible 51.

It all served to over- shadow Sol Campbell's return and a most wonderful goal by Thierry Henry - plus two horrendous misses by Emmanuel Adebayor and a valid penalty claim, that was ignored, after Fredrik Ljungberg was brought down. "We should have won by five," said Wenger. "We made maximum effort and got minimum result."

Indeed Campbell, who was making his first appearance since walking out of Highbury after being substituted at half-time during the defeat to West Ham on 1 February, departed again before the end. In the 90th minute he was taken off with a suspected broken nose having already suffered a cut above his eye when caught by an elbow. Wenger said Campbell had proved his fitness but intimated that he will have a fight on his hands to stay in the Arsenal team.

Nevertheless there were plenty of changes with Wenger juggling resources ahead of the fixture log-jam. In came the pace and energy of Johann Djourou and Abou Diaby and Arsenal quickly took control with a series of fluid attacks prompted by Henry. The Arsenal captain then seized the initiative by dispossessing a lacklustre Sean Davis, transferring the ball to Adebayor who played an instant return pass to Henry. Without breaking stride he was through, curling a shot around Dean Kiely and into net off a post. It was his 28th goal of the season.

Arsenal should have quickly been further ahead. Jose Antonio Reyes swept a crossfield pass to Henry, who picked out Adebayor. It was a simple, side-footed chance but the Togolese striker made a terrible hash of it. Maybe that also explained, in the second half, his weak header from just five yards out after he reached Reyes' corner.

Arsenal paid a heavy price. Andres D'Alessandro swung in a free-kick. It evaded Campbell and LuaLua timed his run to jump in front of Diaby and guide the ball beyond Jens Lehmann. Arsenal pushed on and Kiely saved from Ljungberg before Djourou headed wastefully over. "You have to keep going," said Wenger when asked about his disappointment. It is a message Redknapp has preached for some time.

Portsmouth (4-4-2): Kiely; Priske, Primus, Stefanovic, Taylor; O'Neil, Davis (Routledge, 58), Mendes, D'Alessandro; LuaLua (Hughes, 69), Mwaruwari (Todorov, 66). Substitutes not used: Ashdown (gk), O'Brien.

Arsenal (4-4-2): Lehmann; Djourou, Campbell (Eboué, 89), Touré, Flamini; Ljungberg, Song, Diaby, Reyes (Hleb, 80); Henry, Adebayor (Van Persie, 75). Substitutes not used: Poom (gk), Bergkamp.

Referee: U Rennie (South Yorkshire).

Portsmouth's last five games

Middlesbrough (home)

Charlton (away)

Sunderland (home)

Wigan (away)

Liverpool (home)

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