Sunday, March 3, 2024

Report: Blackburn Rovers 4-3 Arsenal

When will Arsenal learn to DEFEND?

There can be little doubt that this is the question Gunners fans are asking themselves right now after Arsene Wenger’s side squandered a 2-1 half-time advantage to lose 4-3 against Blackburn Rovers.

Two goals from Yakubu and own goals from Alex Song and Laurent Koscielny cancelled out clinical first half efforts by Gervinho and Mikel Arteta, before Marouane Chamakh finished the scoring with a consolation goal in the final minutes.

It was a ridiculous game; a match Arsenal should have won, looked to have lost, nearly drew but were still defeated. It is another painful blow in a season which has now included three defeats and seen fourteen goals conceded, including 12 in two trips to the North-West.

Buoyed by Wednesday’s gritty showing in Dortmund, Arsenal started well at Ewood Park, knocking the ball around with patience, carefully testing the Rovers defence and taking full advantage of a slick pitch.

From very outset Arsene Wenger’s men put special emphasis on attacking down the right hand side, with both Sagna and Gervinho making great headway against the bearded Gael Givet. The Gunners looked comfortable if not clinical in the final third, with crosses played into the box being easily cleared by Rovers.

Then after ten minutes Gervinho notched his first competitive goal in an Arsenal shirt. Played in by a nicely weighted ball by Song, the Ivorian darted diagonally across the box past Christopher Samba before reversing a low shot into the bottom left hand corner past a stranded Paul Robinson. It was a lovely goal and a great show of intent from the summer acquisition, starting his first Premier League game since his sending-off against Newcastle on the opening day of the season.

Increasingly confident on the ball and with good movement up front, the Gunners continued to threaten, but as always against Blackburn and their penchant for long diagonal balls there is rarely room  for overconfidence.

Arsene Wenger had spoken earlier in the week about the positives and the negatives of introducing a new zonal marking policy to defend balls into the box. In the 18th minute his defence showed that they were still coming to terms with the new strategy. Failing to track the run of Christopher Samba,the giant centre-back appeared unmarked at the back post and seemed destined to equalise only for his header to fly wide. It was a sign of things to come.

Having totally dominated, it seemed typical of the season that Arsenal should concede out of nothing.  As the rain poured down, an interception by Song fell kindly to Junior Hoilett on the edge of the box. The tricky Canadian quickly fed a ball to Yakubu who, having escaped Koscielny, clinically flicked a shot past Szczesny before the Pole had a chance to react. Replays showed that Andre Santos, making his full debut, had been the man playing the Nigerian onside – the type of mistake that happens when a defence hasn’t played together. All square and it was game on again.

In the next five minutes Samba twice more came close to scoring as Szczesny nervously contested for more long balls arrowed into the box. Weathering the storm, Arsenal continued to exert pressure on the break and finally scored a second. Having again targeted the right hand side, Aaron Ramsey broke into the box pulled a ball back to Mikel Arteta. The Spaniard, whose last kick for Everton had been to score a penalty against Blackburn, crashed home a finish into the top corner. At half-time Arsenal looked good value for their 2-1 lead.

Unfortunately, as has so often been the case in recent seasons, Arsenal’s inability to defend from set pieces proved costly.

Twice in the space of the first 15 minutes of the second half the Gunners failed to deal with balls into the box and twice Blackburn scored. The equaliser from Alex Song was something of a freak, the ball just hitting the Cameroonian midfielder after a looped free-kick fell at his feet.

Rovers’ third though was further evidence that the zonal marking system is a risky strategy. As a corner fell to the back post, the ball was flashed across the six yard box and Yakubu tapped in. He was offside, it shouldn’t have stood, but given the manner in which Arsenal had not defended, it was a suitable punishment.

While you hoped and sensed Arsenal had enough quality about them to react in a positive manner it wasn’t to be. After a period of concerted pressure, Blackburn punished the Gunners on the break. Martin Olsson carried the ball out of defence, was fed the ball back down the right, escaped a lackadaisical challenge by substitute Johan Djourou, raced into the box, pulled the ball back and watched as Koscielny deflected the ball into his own net. You couldn’t make it up. It was the club’s third own goal in five games –as many as they had conceded in the last two seasons combined.

The last twenty minutes of the match passed in something of a daze. If brittle confidence had been rebuilt in the last seven days, it was again in pieces. Arsene Wenger looked dejected on the bench, the Arsenal away fans look horrified in the stands and Gooners on Twitter were stunned into cyber silence. Only numbness seemed to stem the pain.

Robin van Persie did his best to keep the team going coming close with a couple of chances, before in the 84th minute whipping in a great ball for Chamakh to crash home an unstoppable header.  At 4-3 there was still the outside chance of snatching a draw from the jaws of defeat. In injury time Per Mertesacker, Van Persie, Chamakh and Walcott all had guilt edge chances to do just that, but somehow failed to convert before the referee called time.

Arsenal have won only three of their last 16 league games and unfortunately, no matter how many dodgy decisions, injuries and other excuses that may include, there is no hiding from the fact that the run is the worst since the mid-eighties. We are in serious trouble. Of that there is no doubt.

What happens next is anyone’s guess…

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Find a happy place, find a happy place, find a happy place…


Jesus even Liverpool last season were better than this.

what no one has said

Really? When Liverpool was sitting on the relegation zone? Really??


Time for Wenger out, or better yet some new coaches in?

Adam, Watford

We definitely need a defensive coach to come in. Wenger is ok, it’s the back four that need properly sorting. Bring in Bould !


yup, agreed on new coaches for defenders. But wenger will stay anyway. Changes of strategies are needed. Defenders are not talking to each other.

Sidcup Reds

Wenger is tactically inept, what a clueless man, walk out the door man and do yourself and us a favour.


it isn’t the defenders, it is the system – Clichy looks really good at Man City and Toure was made captain – two players that Wenger didn’t feel up to it, we always play with one defensive midfielder and always get punished.


Arsene has lost the hearts and minds of the team and the supporters! He needs to go now. He is destroying all the great things he did for arsenal. Anyone else would be a better manager at the moment.

Adam, Watford

Wenger can’t legislate for two own goals. Wenger has assembled a great attacking team again and they look galvanised and we looked just like Arsenal of old with gervinho looking a little like Henry for his goal.

Wenger is no defensive genius though, that is his glaring flaw at the moment.

John Edmunds

lmao. galvanised? Our attack is shit. The only reason Gervinho got thru was because of poor high defensive line by Blackburn. It was just a simple thru pass into space.

In our olden days we were playing triangles, had 3rd runners, had width, good crossers and clinical finishing. We don’t have anything now


Isn’t Hoilett Canadian?


Time to pension off Arsene and bring in Joachim Loew.


I want my mummy.

Adam, Watford

Santo might need a map and compass to help him find his way back to the left hand side of the pitch. I did fear that his problem would be his roaming around too muuch and being caught out of position from a couple of Youtube clips, not that that is a good source of research all the time. Aside from ther poor defending, even Szcszsczny looked a little nervy, surely we should have had a penalty. How can the Sky co-commentator say it wan’t a penalty because Robinson didn’t use his hands [or arms] to bring Walcott down ?… Read more »

Adam, Watford

I meant Santos, of course !


He wasn’t at home for most of the match, and when he was, he played Yakubu onside. Inspired signing Arsene…

John Edmunds

Yakubu was onside for first goal because Koscielny didnt track him properly anyway

N7 Gooner

In fairness, we’re taking about a senior Brazil international and a player in his first game in the club. Good signing in time. Only problem is, time is something we don’t have. We NEED to get going now.


time for serious changes!!!!!

N7 Gooner

Life feels like those last few minutes against Brum in the C.Cup-I’m like ‘is this happening?’ Feels ad but not real-like this isn’t the real team somehow?


Almost any manager in world or English football could get more from this defence than Wenger.It’s time for the board to put the club first and bring in a new man now before were bottom six at Christmas.If this continues we have a serious chance of going down.Brian Clough revisited.


We’ll be bottom three before then.


It’s a horror show every time we play now, this team cannot defend, no matter who comes in. That has to lie in what AW is doing (or not doing) in training. We are in big trouble, we leak like a full nappy, and there’s no easy solution. Either way you look at it, the club has been run poorly for a while now, and until that, and the practises of AW change, it’s going to get worse.


not djourou’s fault he was played in a position where we have no depth, that being said, he was trash when he came on

Adam, Watford

Djourou should have been moved on and we should have kept Eboue !


surely Wenger didnt expect Sagna to play all of the games with Jenkinson as the only true RB left in the squad?


The game this felt most reminiscent of was Spurs at the Emirates last season. At half-time we were on top the world, could have taken more of our chances and then we’d have really put the game to bed, but no worries. What followed after the break was a series of oh-my-god moments. Sounds like then, sounds like now. Nothing’s changed, but everything’s gotten worse: at least that was Spurs (ass much as we hate them, they are a decent squad). This is a team managed by Steve Kean. This is dreadful. Anyone reckon we’ll finish in the top half… Read more »

Alpha T

I hate Arsenal for making ‘me’ feel this way.
We’re in a relegation scrap, I bet Dortmund must be thinking how d hell didn’t they get 3pts!!
To concede 4 at Blackburn is nothing short of a disgrace, Wengers time is surely coming to an end, it’s just not working anymore.


Bottom 10 if wenger stays.


Bottom 10?? – this is more like relegation form. I agree Wenger must be replaced NOW before things get even worse. The man is destroying a great club. It is not just about the playing staff, lack of investment etc etc. This is about sheer incompetence at the top and the guy refusing to do the job he’s paid for.


Djourou is a liability whenever or wherever he plays…We can see but seems AW can’t!That couple of million saved not buying Cahill or Jagielka will be lost due to the league position we will finish at the end of the season….Yet again false economy from The Arsenal!


I agree about the couple of million saved. Just buy quality and you wont regret it.


We’re sh*t! You have to laugh, what else is there to do?


A cruel way to lose, two own goals and one offside. These are the same players who played so well in midweek against a far better Dortmund side than this Blackburn one. It’s just so hard to understand at the moment. This wasn’t a bad performance, you can’t legislate for two own goals no matter who the manager is. It feels like if there is any bad luck to be had at the moment it is just sticking to us for some reason. almost every game there is some freak occurance or controvesy, none of our games pass without some… Read more »


here here. a sensible response for a change


No you cannot put it all down to luck and “freak” results. It is a symptom of a serious malaise. Think about it, haven’t we had freak events in our favour too – eg. vs Swansea?


I’ve supported Arsene all the way, even when everyone was calling for his head just before the transfer window closed. However, I think now is the time for him to ‘step down’ gracefully.

She wore

I love that man and I hate what’s happening but I’m sorry it’s time


Im going to just put this out there and say it, I in all my life in all the games I have seen, and all the football teams around in the world, I have never seen such shocking defending. I have never said this before but I think arsene wenger is finished.


But if the board are blind and impotent and wenger too thick to throw the towel in- who will remove wenger?

80s Gooner

A freak result, Arsenal were unlucky-Offside, two own goals a penalty that was not given and a MOTM performance from the home keeper.
Where AW got it wrong when he brought on JD for Sagna, he should have put Song at RB and brought on Couqelin.
A freak result no doubt but in the context of our recent form this could easily become a crisis. I just hope that there are no silly knee jerk decisions in the next few days.
Arsenal from now to the end of the season need to treat every game like a cup game.


This is not a freak result. Dortmund had rubbish finishers, and Swansea were unlucky. This is reality, this is what Arsenal has become. No need for knee-jerk reactions, but this was not a freak result. It was a rubbish defensive display.


That’s just the point, though. After all this time, Arsene is still a poor tactician. How many “freak results” will it take before the board wises up and realises the Emperor has no clothes.


yep a freak result just like Man U away and Liverpool at home….3 premier league wins in 16 matches….you are as deluded as AW….

Sidcup Reds

A freak result? Did you write that with a straight face? FFS


the club has continued it’s awful summer with piss poor form and shit defending. what is going on. this is arsenal football club not Plymouth. fucking joke!!

Smeer Na$ri (with shit)

Just when the squits seemed to be gone they’ve come back with a vengeance! I’m fucking tired of this already. Feels like it’s going to be a long season. Arshavin needs to learn how to tackle properly, our players generally need to learn how to kick a ball instead of letting it dribble off them and into their own goal and Santos needs to check out the offside rule. We just look pathetic at the moment, and on top of that we’re not having any luck. Should have been 3-1 to the Arsenal. How can you let in 3 such… Read more »


i agree mate this is pure rubbish transfers done to late new players dont know how we play were we are on the field.this is going to take a large amount of time to sort out time we dont have .i just cant get my head round these results. i think there is a lot of shit going on behind closed doors that is upsetting the whole squad. wot do you think


Four days ago we were all raving that our team put up a magnificant defensive show in Germany… and today all on twitter and radio stations are saying we cannot defend. Yes Arsenal have not had a run of successful games for a while… but I saw nothing in the game today that made me believe this ” bad luck show” will continue further. Zonal Marking is new to us… and we messed up with two own goals. Will it happen again… pretty the future. Arsene Wenger must be levid and also very hurt. He came to bury Dean…… Read more »


I wasn’t raving. I posted on the Guardian that I must have seen a different game from everyone else, and I was mostly derided. This was coming, there’s no need for denial.


yeah i also wasn’t very impressived watching us getting pressed like we were playing barcelona. clearly dortmund was the better side.


Sorry, but I have to disagree with you. We’ve been woeful since the Carling Cup final, and this pitiful run has only been punctuated by the occasional decent result. Ultimately, the buck stops with the manager and his coaching staff.

You say that any other manager will be the end of Arsenal, but the current manager is doing remarkably poorly with the talent at his disposal. The time has come for a change.

She wore

Drink drink and more drink-don t watch sky or match of the day don t buy the Sunday papers-that’s the answer but for f****sake 4 goals against the bottom team , I’m speechless

Smeer Na$ri (with shit)

God, Paul Scholes is such a fucking cunt.

Yar She Blows

What is it going to take for Wenger to wake up and walk away?! 12-0 loss at home to Sheik City?! What he has done for the club cannot be ridiculed, but this team is a joke, and the Arsenal way of football is gone I’m afraid. how many times have we seen teams pass around us in the last 2 years? Wenger, please leave before we are relegated.


Maddo did you forget to take your Prozac today mate?


I-hate-wenger’ Hello Mate Thanks for your personal response… but by your name tag you have shown your allegence and tied your ribbon to the post. There is little I can say to make you feel better about yourself at present…except to say that the result will not change .. it has happened and alas you cannot have the bragging rights of a win. I will not curse, swear or belittle the name of the Manager of my Football Team… because I support them in times of the invincibles and in times of Doubt ( as now). However as a supporter… Read more »


what a lovely response. i like it


Guus Hiddnik, Martin Oniel, Loew, Ancelotti….

Do you want me to go on?

Why are some of you always on some stupid logic about “who will replace him?” With your way pf thinking we’ll never sack a manager even if he gets us relegated.

5 wins in 25 games? I fancy even you with your blind faith can do better…

Eric Irish gunner

Well said mate


great. we’ve gone from title contenders to playing every game like a cup match. that’s what teams scrapping to stay in pl do, not fucking arsenal.


How much longer does this have to go on for? Every game looks difficult now Bolton at home, spuds away. 3 points maybe.

Uncle Pats Rice

Can I have another refund ?


An absolute disgrace. Awful defending and poor finishing. Now is the time for change. We are the laughing stock of the premier league. Forget all that bollocks about getting behind the team. It’s too late. The teams all over the place. The tactics are wrong. The defence is league 1 at best. Wenger bye bye before you turn my beloved Arsenal into a mid table team. Backburn, bottom of the table with fans screening to have their manager out. What a fucking joke…..


Sigh. Somebody wake me up when the seasons over.

Rickard M C S

I’m questioning what grit we had vs Dortmund? They walked through our defences on a number of occassions.. Maybe if they had Yakubu upfront they would’ve scored 3-4 instead of the Japanese fella who always aimed for home.

el blondo


Rickard M C S

” Junior Hoilett, constantly the cause of panic, escaped a lackadaisical challenge by substitute Johan Djourou, raced into the box, pulled the ball back and watched as Koscielny deflected the ball into his own net. You couldn’t make it up. It was the club’s third own goal in five games –as many as they had conceded in the last two seasons combined.”

What game were you watching? That was Olsson.

Rickard M C S

lol I can imagine

Okot David Alfred De Gunner 4ever

Our chair man Wenger is not the only manager in the world of football let him go so we the fans enjoy our football six years without tropy it’s giving bad name to club and to the admin as wel…

Midfield Corporal

Own goals, penaltys not given, bad offside decisions… At the end of the day we just lack organisation. Teams are cutting through us like butter. I would have thought 4 4 2 would make us more solid defending. I am starting to think AW simply can’t motivate his team anymore and maybe does need to go. That’s my weekend fucked now. Cheers boys.


I had this awful feeling when we were in cruise control after the 1st goal, making chances so easily with all the space in the midfield and not finishing them. The players seemed complacent 25 minutes into the game with a one goal lead. I just wish we pushed harder when we had the advantage and I guess that attitude just isn’t in the squad until we go down by goal. Thrilling last 10 minutes though.


Just read wengers comments. Can he please just go !

blue rover

you reap what you sow. As a Rover I can say Arsenal play wonderful football and in Arteta and Ramsey you have two class players. Rovers rode their luck and got very lucky with the two own goals. In this league, you make your own luck. Today was our day. Arsenal dont deserve fans who think AW should be sacked, he has made your club what it is today. Good to have some decent Gooner fans up North once more, in general your a good lot, always up for a drink, banter and football talk like decent footie fans. I… Read more »


Blue rover: your team score 1 goal today, 2 at most if you count the offside gift the linesman gave you. The other 2 goals were own goals. You were very very lucky today!


Well done mate. Even when it looked like we were too good I could still see the quality and pace that you guys had, you’re a good team. Also you didnt try kick us off the park, you actually played good football so kudos for that. The season is still early. A lot can happen between now and may. Given, good or bad. Fabby leaving really rocked the boat and nasri leaving on top of that was a lot to come back from. We were never going to recover overnight. We can, and i still optimistically believe this, finish in… Read more »


One pass away from being 3-1 up and cruising. Why is it that for years we have overpassed in the last 3rd yet Gervinho didn’t slide RVP in at the perfect opportunity today? Some of the passing was atrocious in the first half. Okay, so we scored 3 today, but against a poor Blackburn side. We don’t appear to have the cutting edge to dismantle teams at the moment. Our ruthless instinct seems to have gone with Cesc and Na$ri. Our defending has woeful in the Prem thus far. We sit back too much, allowing players time on the ball… Read more »


” …yet Gervinho didn’t slide RVP in at the perfect opportunity today?”
– this was one of the things that annoyed me the most this whole game, that guy cannot pass in the final moment, he always shoots, tries to do all sorts of tricks, except looking up and passing the damn ball, it would have been 3-1 for us at break time.


He did score a good goal though. You take the good with the bad.

John Smith

Wenger is still the right man for the job and with 2 or 3 new signings will have us challenging for the title.


You do realize that between now and January, on this form (or lack thereof), we could already be doomed to relegation, right?

John Smith

But what I said is what experts like John Cross have been repeating for years on end!


“with 2 or 3 signings.”

Tell me mate, how long have you found yourself saying that? That statement might have been true with Cesc, Nasri, and co.. (or years ago). Unfortunately it looks like we’ve gone very far now from being competitive (genuine contenders).

Not Wenger. We just can’t win with him.


I think we’re seeing the fallout from the failed “project youth”. the whole culture at the club has changed, from having the mentality of winners to making excuses and accepting mediocrity. Problem is it will be difficult to get out of that culture, it took Inter over 20 years and extraordinary circumstance, Atletico Madrid are still trying to get out, hope we sort our sh1t out quickly or we’re in for the long haul as well.


I am still for giving wenger some more time, but just out of curiosity, who would replace him? The fact is we don’t have a top 4 squad. I am happy to give the new guys all the encouragement I can, but the reality is they are a shadow of the players they replaced and I dont believe wenger doesn’t see that. It seems preposterous that he would willingly let the squad be weakened to it’s current state so I think the board must have something to do with it. If that is the case, then why should we expect… Read more »


That’s the problem with us at the moment, all cloak and dagger, no one really knows what is going on. Is the board not supporting Wenger? or is this mess we’re in all of his own doing, some answers from the club would be nice, but i guess there’s a better chance of aliens landing on the planet before that happens.


Let me help you out – you don’t buy Oxtail Chamberlain for 15M when an England International and a very good player, Ashley Young, is available for 16M. You don’t spend 15M on a championship player who plays a position you’re loaded with when we clearly needed defenders. You dont put in desiory bids for good players.

You don’t have Almunia as our keeper for 4+ years. Look, we didn’t need a billionaire to help fix this. FYI – we make RECORD PROFITS. We never needed a billionaire to upgrade from Almunia.

Rooney Highbury

I guess you Goons must miss Adebayor, Gallas and even David Seaman! muahahahahaha!

(At least Seaman didnt let in 8, did he?)



Well be bottom 3 tomorrow! Embarrasing

Rooney Highbury

Embarassing? That’s where u belong! Go check out directions to West Spam, u’ll be there next season (if they dont get relegated again, that is)!!!!!


John Smith you are 1 deluded cunt

John Smith

I was being sarcastic. Everyone knows who the cause is of this shit but no-one in the media dares criticize him so we get what I wrote above repeated ad nauseum.

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