| Manchester United’s Darren Fletcher (left) in a tussle with Leeds United’s Seth Johnson in Leeds on Saturday
London, Oct. 18 (Reuters): Arsenal went top of the Premier League on Saturday after a goalkeeping howler by Carlo Cudicini gifted them a 2-1 derby victory over Chelsea.
Thierry Henry bundled home the 75th minute winner after Cudicini’s nightmare fumble to leave Arsenal top on 23 points, one clear of champions Manchester United, who had earlier snatched a 1-0 victory at Leeds United.
Chelsea’s expensively-assembled side, who had cancelled out Edu’s opener for Arsenal with a stunning strike by Argentine Hernan Crespo, are third on 20 points after their first defeat of the season.
Manchester City thrashed Bolton Wanderers 6-2, former Liverpool midfielder Patrik Berger scored Portsmouth’s winner against his old club in a 1-0 victory and Newcastle United beat Middlesbrough 1-0 in the northeast derby.
In an early match, captain Roy Keane headed a late winner for champions Manchester United to snatch a 1-0 win.
Leeds, 16th in the table, raised their game and looked set for a deserved draw when Keane rose at the far post to head home a superb cross from the right by Gary Neville.
United’s Dutch striker Ruud van Nistelrooy missed chances in both halves while Paul Scholes should have made it 2-0 in stoppage time, hitting the bar from point-blank range.
“It was a frustrating day for us really and that was down to the way Leeds performed and they were very good tactically,” United manager Alex Ferguson said.
“You may look at it and say they deserved more but we had a major share of the game, we made the chances that mattered and I don’t think we were undeserved winners. But it was a very hard game for us.”
Leeds boss Peter Reid, whose side harried United in midfield and interrupted their forwards’ supply line from playmaker Scholes, said: “The gameplan nearly worked. But that’s why Manchester United are where they are.
“They’re such a good side, with so many good players — they sniff a chance out and get a goal.”