Portsmouth 0 Arsenal 0

Last updated : 26 December 2007 By Footymad Previewer
Manchester United ended the Christmas period on top of the Premier League after Arsenal were held to a goalless draw by Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

In a match of few incidents, Arsenal failed to score in the league for the first time this season and the point gained was not enough to reclaim the top spot.

Dogged Portsmouth, containing three of Arsene Wenger's 'invincibles' from a previous golden era, gave Arsenal little scope to show their smooth passing and flowing quality.

Kanu, Sol Campbell and Lauren all played their part in denying their old club the victory they needed.

Even so, Pompey have now failed to score in any of their last five home matches and have not beaten Arsenal in the league since March 1958.

Pompey have scored only 11 home goals all season - and seven of those came in one match against Reading at the end of September.

Arsenal had their chances and in the 38th minute might have gone ahead when a crisp shot from Tomas Rosicky was clutched in typically athletic style by David James.

Lauren was booked for a cynical challenge, as was Emmanuel Eboue for Arsenal, as both sides failed to mount a concerted period of pressure.

But 15 minutes from the end, Pompey had the best chance of the match when Zimbabwe striker Benjani Mwaruwari beat the offside trap and rounded goalkeeper Manuel Almunia only to see his half-hit shot cleared by Gael Clichy.

Pompey manager Harry Redknapp sent on Matt Taylor and John Utaka in a bid to fashion a surprise win.

Wenger retaliated by withdrawing the ineffective Alex Hleb and bringing on Nicklas Bendtner and it almost paid off.

As the match drifted towards its climax, William Gallas should have done better than swivel on to a Bendtner pass and carelessly loft over the bar from six yards.

Bendtner's purposeful run down the right in injury time set up Rosicky for the sort of chance he would normally have put away with relish.

But from ten yards, Rosicky summed up the whole match by clipping a shot wide when it looked easier to score.