LONDON – Sol Campbell scored a rare goal from 25-yards (meters) on Sunday as Arsenal captured a 1-0 victory at Portsmouth to regain second place in the Premier League and cut Chelsea’s lead to five points.
There were only 14 minutes left at Fratton Park when the Pompey midfield allowed the England centerback, who occasionally scores from close range at set pieces, to charge forward into the huge space outside the area.
Campbell had plenty of time and room to drive a 25-yard (meter) shot that flew past surprised ‘keeper Jamie Ashdown to give the England defender his first goal for 16 months.
The victory means that Arsene Wenger’s men climbed above Everton and have 38 points from 18 games while Chelsea, which outplayed Norwich 4-0 on Saturday, has 43. Everton dropped two points on Saturday when it was held 0-0 by struggling Blackburn and has 37.
Milan Baros scored one goal and set up another as Liverpool came from behind to beat Newcastle 3-1 in Sunday’s other Premier League game.
After Patrick Kluivert had fired the Magpies ahead at Anfield, an own goal by Titus Bramble and a Neil Mellor goal assisted by Baros turned the game around before the Czech star hit the third. Newcastle had Lee Bowyer sent off 13 minutes from the end for two yellow cards.
After Thierry Henry had twice gone close in an early spell of Gunners’ pressure at Portsmouth, Pompey’s Gary O’Neil shot wide from a counterattack by the home team. Then Jamaican international striker Ricardo Fuller got free of the Arsenal defense only to pull his angled shot wide of an open net.
Fuller had another chance early in the second half when he only had goalkeeper Manuel Almunia to beat but delayed his shot and was tackled in front of goal.
Almunia, who is keeping German international Jens Lehmann off the starting lineup, made a shaky start to his Arsenal career with blunders in his first three games. But he appears to be growing in confidence and made an acrobatic stop to keep out a 20-yard (meter) shot from Czech midfielder Patrick Berger.
After Campbell had given Arsenal the lead, the Spanish goalkeeper made two more saves, diving to block an 18-yard (meter) strike by Steve Stone and recovering to block the follow up shot from Lomana Lualua.
Newcastle suffered a pre-game blow against Liverpool when Welsh international striker Craig Bellamy pulled out of the starting lineup with a recurrence of his back injury.
Kluivert took over and gave the Magpies the lead in the 32nd minute when he scored from six yards (meters) after Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer had opened up the Liverpool defense.