Arsenal’s 30-match unbeaten Premiership run stretching back to December 2001, came to a halt as Everton’s 16-year-old prodigy Wayne Rooney fired in a spectacular last-minute winner at Goodison Park.
Rooney produced a sumptuous curling shot from 30 yards to beat England keeper David Seaman and give the points to Everton. In the process, Rooney became the youngest player to score a league goal for his club and beat Michael Owen’s record as the youngest-ever Premier League goalscorer. Arsenal’s defeat was their first of the season although they maintained their astonishing scoring record which now runs to 49 consecutive matches.
Earlier, the Gunners went ahead through an opportunistic Freddie Ljungberg goal but Everton levelled when Tomasz Radzinski powered home a rising shot midway through the first-half.
Afterwards, asked for his thought on the precocious Rooney, Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger stated: ‘ He’s the biggest English talent I’ve seen since I’ve been in this country.’
The defeat sees Arsenal drop to second place in the Premier League following Liverpool’s 1-0 win away at Leeds.
Liverpool’s Senegalese duo El Hadji Diouf and Salif Diao, combined to secure the points for Gerard Houllier’s side – Diao converting his compatriot’s cross from close range. The win maintains Liverpool’s unbeaten start to the season and sees them leapfrog Arsenal to the top of the table.
Manchester United were thankful to Fabian Barthez for his second-half penalty save which allowed Sir Alex Ferguson’s side to emerge with a point from their hotly-contested encounter with Fulham.
Barthez was booked for delaying the taking of Steed Malbranque’s spot-kick but the hold-up appeared to affect theFulham man as he shot tamely from the penalty spot. Earlier, Fulham had gone ahead through Steve Marlet before Manchester United pegged back the London side with a typically opportunistic finish fromOle Gunnar Solskjaer. United, who had claims for a penalty late on, move up to third ahead of Middlesbrough who face bottom-of-the-table Charlton on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Newcastle’s Alan Shearer scored his 300th goal in club football – but it wasn’t enough to prevent his former club Blackburn from securing all the points with a comprehensive victory.
The Ewood Park side were two goals ahead after just eight minutes thanks to a David Dunn brace – one from the spot in an incident which saw Nikos Dabizas sent off – but Shearer levelled with two of his own.
Rovers, though, took control after the break and further goals from Martin Taylor and an Andy Griffin own-goal before Taylor struck again to complete the rout.
At the foot of the table, struggling West Ham emerged victorious from their relegation tussle with Sunderland. In a match which marked Howard Wilkinson’s first match in charge at the Stadium of Light, West Ham went ahead midway through the first-half through a Trevor Sinclair piledriver and despite late pressure, Sunderland were unable to breach the West Ham rearguard.
The win takes West Ham out of the relegation zone for the first time all season, while Sunderland drop into the bottom three.