Arsenal's rampage through the Premiership shows no signs of slowing down, as Charlton Athletic found out yesterday. And with Thierry Henry around it is unlikely to for the foreseeable future.
In a typically sublime moment, with the Gunners already one up through Freddie Ljungberg, the Frenchman turned his marker Jonathan Fortune and put the ball between the defender's legs for Arsenal's second - a back-heel nutmeg, no less. He dispatched the third with a scorcher from the edge of the area, then set up Jose Antonio Reyes for the fourth, Arsenal's 26th of the season.
"No one in the Premiership is anywhere near them," the Charlton manager Alan Curbishley said. Arsène Wenger's side, unbeaten in 48 League games, went five points clear of Chelsea, who play Liverpool today.
More importantly for Sven Goran Eriksson, Sol Campbell came safely through his comeback match, putting him in the frame for England's World Cup qualifier against Wales on Saturday. And there was good news for the England manager yesterday morning - with his Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson popping up as an unlikely benefactor.
Having reinforced the point that he and not Eriksson pulls the strings as far as United's England internationals are concerned, Ferguson has relented and agreed that his players named in the England squad tonight can train on Tuesday as planned at United's training ground.
Ryan Giggs will also be allowed to join up with Wales on Tuesday after Ferguson defused a brewing row with a phone call to the Wales manager Mark Hughes. Ferguson reassured his former striker that he would treat all United's internationals the same. The club had indicated that they would invoke the the four-day rule and prevent Giggs joining up until Wednesday but appear to have had a change of heart, and last night Hughes said: "People are trying to make an issue out of it saying that he's undermining our preparations but that's not the case at all. He's doing the same for every association."
Everton, whose manager David Moyes might have kicked up a similar fuss had Wayne Rooney still been in his care, failed to leapfrog Chelsea into second place when Tottenham's miserly defence held firm at Goodison Park. A header from Noe Pamarot in his side's 3,500th League game lifted Spurs six places to fourth, but the French defender's goal will not be the main talking point. That will be the foul by Jamie Redknapp that put Tim Cahill out of the game after he had dominated midfield.
Moyes said he may have knee ligament damage and has ruled him out of the Australia squad for two World Cup qualifiers against the Solomon Islands. He was, though, resigned rather than incandescent, saying: "I don't believe Jamie Redknapp is that sort of player, but I must admit I felt the challenge deserved a red card."
In yesterday's evening game, Gary Megson's job looked slightly safer after goals from Nwankwo Kanu and the Hungary captain Zoltan Gera gave his West Bromwich side a 2-1 win over Bolton.Reuse content