THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

PL 200304 RESULTS20 March ~ Robert Pirès and Dennis Bergkamp scored the goals which maintained Arsenal's nine-point lead. They were to win the League by 21 points, becoming the first team since Preston in 1888-89 to go through a top-level season unbeaten. In their 22-man squad, goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was the only ever-present while 19-year-old forward David Bentley was one of two players to make a single appearance.

In their first season under Roman Abramovich's ownership, eventual runners-up Chelsea beat Arsenal in the quarter-finals of the Champions League then lost surprisingly to Monaco. Manager Claudio Ranieri was replaced at the end of the season by José Mourinho, whose Porto team became European champions having knocked out Manchester United in the quarter-finals.

Several matches were postponed or abandoned this weekend due to exceptionally high winds and an Everton fan was killed by flying debris before their match at Leicester. In that game Marcus Bent, who was to join Everton in the summer, scored a 90th-minute equaliser against opponents reduced to ten men after Duncan Ferguson was dismissed for grabbing Steffen Freund by the throat.

Massimo Maccarone scored two of Middlesbrough's goals in their 5-3 defeat of Birmingham. Steve McClaren's Boro had just won their first major domestic trophy, beating Bolton 2-1 in the League Cup final having knocked out an under-strength Arsenal in the semis.

French striker David Bellion was one of Manchester United's scorers against Spurs. Signed, in controversial fashion, from Sunderland at the start of the season he was to play just 24 matches in two years at Old Trafford being returning home. United beat Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final then defeated Millwall 3-0 in one of the most one-sided finals ever.

Liverpool took the fourth Champions League spot, finishing four points ahead of Newcastle – who lost to Marseille in the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup – and Aston Villa. Despite winning only two of their last ten games Charlton came seventh, their highest League finish since 1952-53.

Financially crippled by their board's reckless spending, Leeds were in the relegation places from October onwards and ended up in 19th place. They went down with two of the promoted clubs, bottom-placed Wolves and Leicester, all three finishing on 33 points.

PL 200304 TABLE

Results & table from statto.com
Read the original Weekly Howl

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