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Middlesbrough hand Arsenal first defeat
December 09, 2007 21:37 IST
Last Updated: December 10, 2007 08:32 IST
Leaders Arsenal suffered their first Premier League defeat of the season on Sunday when they were deservedly beaten 2-1 away by struggling Middlesbrough.
An early penalty by Stewart Downing and a shot by Turkey striker Tuncay Sanli after 73 minutes were fair reward for Boro's dominance.
Arsenal remain top on 37 points, one ahead of Manchester United who beat bottom club Derby County 4-1 on Saturday while Chelsea are two points further back after beating Sunderland 2-0.
Liverpool, who also suffered their first league defeat of the season when they went down 3-1 at Reading, are fourth on 30, ahead on goal difference of Portsmouth and Manchester City, who lost 2-1 at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Next Sunday, Arsenal play Chelsea and Liverpool host Manchester United.
Middlesbrough, who began the day in the relegation zone after going 11 games in all competitions without a win, went ahead with Downing's fourth-minute penalty after Kolo Toure brought down his former team mate Jeremie Aliadiere.
Tuncay and George Boateng went close in the second half before Tuncay, a free-transfer arrival from Fenerbahce in June, fired in from a tight angle.
Arsenal maintained their record of scoring in every league game of the season when Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky made it 2-1 in injury time but the goal came too late to spoil Boro's day.
"It's been so long since we won we'd forgotten what it felt like," their manager Gareth Southgate told the BBC.
"The work rate and commitment were phenomenal but we showed some skill too which is what you have to do to beat a team like Arsenal.
"Arsenal have had a very hard week, after three away games on the bounce we thought it might be an opportunity for us."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said: "We were jaded and not at our best today but Middlesbrough deserved to win."
Substitute Jermain Defoe scored with almost his first touch seven minutes from time to give Spurs their much-needed win over City.
Pascal Chimbonda put Spurs ahead at the end of the first half, scoring from a clearly offside position, but Rolando Bianchi equalised with a header after an hour.
City, whose only away win came on the opening day of the season, had Stephen Ireland sent off for a high challenge moments before Defoe's winner.
Bolton Wanderers beat Wigan Athletic 4-1 in a Lancashire derby between two struggling teams while Blackburn Rovers were playing West Ham United later on Sunday.