Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea  (Sky Sports)  

FA Carling Premiership

By Mark Wiltshire

Arsenal will almost certainly play Champions League football next season but Chelseas dreams of competing in Europes top competition have been destroyed as the home side comfortably won this London derby.

The Blues have still to record a victory over Arsenal in the Premiership and never looked like reversing that trend as the Gunners strolled to their 12th consecutive win.

A goal in each half from the prolific Thierry Henry took his tally for the season to 25. It was enough as Chelseas tactics of pushing up at every opportunity left them vulnerable to the pacey Arsenal attack.

Gilles Grimandi had a busy opening 10 minutes, covering most of the pitch. He also nearly opened the scoring but a header from an Emmanuel Petit corner flew wide. The Frenchman had to be on defensive duties to challenge George Weah when the Liberian seemed clear on goal.

The threat of Arsenals top scorer Thierry Henry was beginning to materialsise and he forced Ed De Goey to make a smart save at his near post after the Frenchman headed a Dennis Bergkamp cross.

Leboeuf, who was looking shaky at the back, had the ball robbed off him by French international team mate Petit but with Henry clean through the Blues had their Dutch keeper to thank for keeping scores even.

However, Henry was not to be denied in the 21st minute when another Leboeuf mistake was eventually punished. He failed to chest the ball allowing Patrick Vieira to nip in. The subsequent touch left Henry once again confronted by De Goey who he rounded before firing a shot that a retreating Lebouef could not stop on the line.

David Seaman, regarded as past his best in some quarters, showed his worth when he made a fine save from Dennis Wise and Roberto Di Matteos follow-up effort was scrambled away.

The pattern of the game didnt change much in the second half as Chelsea committed more mistakes at the back. Three minutes after the interval Marcel Desailly was caught napping by Henry who calmly finished from 12 yards.

Chelsea huffed and puffed but couldnt break down a stubborn Arsenal defence that had conceded only eight goals in last 14 home games until the 79th minute.

Second half substitute Gustavo Poyet popped up in the right area when he chested down a cross before shooting first time past David Seaman. Despite the Uruguayans 17th goal of the season, Chelsea left Highbury empty-handed once again.

Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Adams, Grimandi, Silvinho, Parlour, Vieira, Petit (Luzhny 77), Overmars (Winterburn 46), Bergkamp (Kanu 68), Henry.
Subs Not Used: Manninger, Malz.
Booked: Henry.
Goals: Henry 21, 48.

Chelsea: de Goey, Lambourde, Leboeuf (Thome 40), Desailly, Melchiot, Di Matteo, Wise, Morris (Deschamps 60), Zola (Poyet 60), Weah, Flo.
Subs Not Used: Sutton, Cudicini.
Booked: Thome, Poyet.
Goals: Poyet 79.

Att: 38,119
Ref: M Reed (Birmingham).