A fine away win yesterday will go some way to backing up the manager’s claim that this team is more mature and better able to cope with the threat of teams like Blackburn. It was a little nervy towards the end but I thought Arsenal’s second half performance was intelligent and disciplined and that made the difference.
In the first half we gave away four free kicks which allowed Paul Robinson to hump the ball into our box from just inside the Blackburn half. I don’t care who you are and how good you are at the back, when it’s being lumped like that towards big men like Samba and Nelsen then it’s difficult to defend. And early on we struggled a little bit. Nelsen had a header cleared off the line by Cesc Fabregas and Samba headed just over – both chances came from corners.
Add Pedersen’s long throw into the mix and it was an aerial onslaught, just as we expected. In the second half, however, Robinson had just one free kick, in the 49th minute and Koscielny won it in the air. It seemed we were happy to let them have it in the centre of midfield, pressing them but not giving away silly fouls. They tried to spread it wide and for the most part their passing was poor so their big threat was limited to a few throw ins. Late on they threw Samba on up front and his most meaningful contribution was to throw himself to the ground, screaming for a penalty which the referee rightly ignored.
It was a good response from Arsenal to what had been a much more open first half. Their early chances had us on the back foot a bit but we opened the scoring with a lovely goal. Song played it from the centre of midfield to Arshavin who rolled it to van Persie. His through ball with the outside of his left foot was perfect for the onrushing Theo Walcott who took it on and buried it in the far corner. It just shows you what a bit of confidence can do for a player, last season that would probably have ended up in the stand. In Burnley.
What’s ironic is that Blackburn’s goal came about when they put together their best move of the match. Samba played it to El Hadj Diouf down our right, he was too quick and strong for Koscielny and he crossed for his namesake, Marvin Diouf, to tap home the equaliser. Double-Diouf, what did I say? It was shoddy defending from Arsenal really. Sagna, who otherwise had a really good game, was caught too high up the pitch, Koscielny should have done to Diouf what Lauren did to Ronaldo, and Clichy showed why doubts remain about him as he had no awareness of the arriving striker.
We lost Robin van Persie to an ankle injury after about half an hour, he was replaced by Chamakh. Five minutes into the second half we had the lead. Sagna made a brilliant run down the right hand side, he squared it for Cesc whose first time shot hit Theo’s arse, Andrei Arshavin was on hand to drive home the rebound.
After that Arsenal controlled the game. Blackburn had one chance I can remember when Dunn shot straight at Almunia. Other than that the keeper was untroubled. That’s not to say we created a lot either. Arshavin had a half chance after his goal but he fired it well over, Theo stuck one not far over the bar and that was about that until Jack Wilshere had a chance to seal the game in the final few moments, unfortunately for him he slipped when striking the ball.
In the end though I think we merited the three points. The game did not plumb the depths like others against Blackburn, there was only yellow card as far as I can remember and not a bad challenge in the game. Afterwards Arsene said:
In the first half we were a bit too nervous dealing with Blackburn’s game. In the second half I felt we were calmer, put the ball on the ground well and controlled the game much better.
Some other thoughts – I don’t for one second buy into the stuff about Cesc looking like he wanted to be somewhere else. Typical and hysterical nonsense started by media outlets who crave the attention and look to generate their own headlines, regardless of the truth. Arsenal fans shouldn’t fall for it. I thought he looked committed yesterday and played quite well, however it was his first start of the season, he’s clearly lacking a little bit of match fitness and his touch isn’t quite there yet. It’ll come and I think if we’d had a 100% fit Cesc we’d have won that game by a couple of goals yesterday.
Robin van Persie just cannot catch a break. He injured his ankle in a routine challenge, Arsene Wenger hopes it’ll just be a couple of weeks – and a handy couple of weeks too due to the Interlull which is now upon us – but you worry if he’s ever going to stay fit at all. That said, when you have a replacement like Chamakh it’s easier to cope with. I thought the Moroccan was fantastic yesterday, particularly in the second half. He held it up well, looked stronger and more confident on the ball, and was a big part of Arsenal’s controlled second half performance.
So, it’s a very good three points. Going into the Interlull on the back of this result keeps confidence high. Going to a place like Blackburn and laying to rest some of the ghosts of last season this early is a good thing.
A word as well for Blackburn’s fans who are a pack of pig-ignorant gleet-hounds. Quite apart from singing that reprehensible song about Arsene they are hypocrites of the highest order. They love to talk up their reputation and their physical ‘style’ of football yet the moment one of their players is so much as tackled they’re screaming and moaning like a pack of hysterical piglets. ‘Same old Arsenal always cheating’ when we’re awarded a free kick. If you can work out how a foul by one of their players is us cheating then you’re a better man than I am.
And as for their manager, just the sight of him with his gaping maw, chewing great wads of gum, is enough to turn your stomach. He complained that Arsene Wenger isn’t the kind of manager to share a drink after the game. The last section of this Ian Holloway article just proves that he’ll share a drink with you if you’re not an enormous, wind-up merchant, egomaniac Walrus looking cunt. Something for Fat Sam to dwell on, if he has the self-awareness to do that.
And speaking of enormous cunts, Tony Pulis’s comments are hilarious. Apparently he’s rather put out by Arsene’s suggestion that fouling a goalkeeper with no intention of playing the ball is more suited to rugby rather than association football. Talk of him suing Arsene or Arsenal is quite fantastic, it just shows what a deluded moron he is. I would love to see him try.
There’s nothing new on the transfer front, Arsene said on Sky yesterday that ‘at the moment’ everything is dead for us, but that doesn’t mean things can’t be revived … which would make any new signing some kind of zombie, right?
Mark Hughes says Schwarzer has made it clear he wants to join us but no deal will happen unless they can get a replacement. I’m sure things will be going on behind the scenes over the next couple of days and I’d be 99% sure that we’ll have a new, flesh eating keeper on our books before the window closes.
Right then, time for the Sunday papers and Match of the Day. Have a good one folks.