Arsenal 4 – 0 Blackburn… 4th place is ours…

I've just arrived from my weekend away in Cardiff and am watching the game on Arsenal TV action replay.

Arsenal 4-0 Blackburn Rovers 
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, March 14, 2009, 15:00

We played some really good football and thoroughly deserved our 4 – 0 win. I’ll touch on the positive side of the game shortly. But I just want to comment on three absolutely crazy fouls. Each one worse then each other. As I watch the game, and with only 20 minutes gone, I’ve just witnessed Stephen Warnock stamp on Theo Walcott’s ankle on the edge of the area. Definite yellow, but not even a foul was given. Then Jason Roberts stamped on Kolo Toure’s ankle and another definite yellow card – at least this time we were awarded a free kick. And then the worst of them all. El Hajdi Dooooof – a player who simply does not deserve to play the game – a challenge on Almunia reminiscent of the challenge that saw Eduardo out of the game for a year. A challenge that deserved a red card and 5 match ban at the minimum. How can a player actually do that? Total intent to injure the player.

I’m convinced that something will have to be done about the challenge. I think we’ll see the FA ban the player for a few games. I’m sure of it.

Going back to the game, it was simply an awesome display of football.

We started with the following team:

Almunia
Sagna – Toure – Djourou – Clichy
Walcott – Song – Denilson – Nasri
Arshavin
Bendtner

It was a slightly different formation than I thought it would be and a surprise to see Van Persie on the bench, but at the moment, Arsene probably feels like he can rest him and is taking the opportunity to do so.

It wasn’t too long until we got into the lead with a quick fire attack when Walcott was sent down the right of midfield and with blistering pace sent the ball across for Arshavin / Ooijer to bundle across the line. The play after that was simply sensational at times. Alex Song has changed in the last month – his performance yesterday was exemplary. Denilson and Song ran the midfield and Walcott, Nasri and Arshavin terrorised the defence. Suddenly, it felt like the good old times.

The second goal took a long time to come, but it was well worth it. Andrei Arshavin received the ball on the left of midfield. Driving at the defender, jinxed past him and lobbed the keeper from an acute angle. Following on from Vela’s and Eduardo’s goals last week, it was simply awesome. The chances continued to flow, Nikki B was a little bit out of sorts in front of goal. We saw against West Brom that he can play and finish better, but his overall contribution was decent.

Eboue came on for the last 10 minutes and some excellent play saw Arshavin strike at goal and Eboue touch in the rebound. And when Vela dribbled into the area – and was typically hacked down by a Blackburn defender. Eboue (not Vela and not Arshavin for the hat-trick) took the penalty and the final score was 4-0.

Arsene was very happy with the display and spoke after the game:

“We have been waiting for goals for a long time and I believe that maybe the pressure came off the team a bit after the Roma game so we played with more freedom. I believe we have more creative talent and the game is more fluid. Our football is coming back which I think is down to psychological reasons. 

“The team were always highly focused and they always want to do well. We are on a long and consistent run now and that’s why I believe we can go from strength to strength from now until the end of the season.”

And on Arshavin he continued:

“He has intelligence, vision and talent to pass one against one. His second goal was an example of that.  I changed him at half time and put him on the left but he can play right, central or left. You ask any good football player where he wants to play he will say central. 

“He had four stitches in his foot at half time, it is cut along the outside completely and the doctor had to make four stitches at the break. We delayed kick off a bit because of that.“

Now that’s more like it.

More tomorrow.

———————————————————————

 

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Djourou, Clichy, Walcott (Diaby 79), Song Billong, Denilson, Arshavin, Nasri (Eboue 83), Bendtner (Vela 79). 
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Gallas, Van Persie, Gibbs.

Goals: Arshavin 2, 65, Eboue 87, 90 pen.

Blackburn: Robinson, Simpson, Samba, Ooijer, Givet (Dunn 13), Diouf, Mokoena, Khizanishvili (McCarthy 66), Warnock (Olsson 55), Pedersen, Roberts. 
Subs Not Used: Bunn, Kerimoglu, Andrews, Treacy.

Booked: Diouf, Mokoena, Khizanishvili, Ooijer.

Att: 60,091

Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).]]>

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[Dev, the first goal was given as an ooijer o.g. if you look carefully you can see arshavin denying it was his goal, so that helps explain why Arshavin didn't take the pen.

    Was a great game tho, I think Arshavin is looking very good and an option as a winger, attacking midfielder or support striker. Should put pressure on the likes of ade, bendtner, eboue and returning rosicky to step it up a level.

    4th feels so much better than 5th.]]>

  • AJ

    I could make a number of points about the match, pretty much all positives, only negatives where the bad tackles by Blackburn. So really, I’m just going to say this is how Arsenal can play and how we should play week in week out, lets just hope this is the beginning of us getting back up there and winning cups as for the actual match, the score line tells it all.

  • ny

    everybody was complaining about bendtner.But if you look at his positioning only Anelka is there to compete with him

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[Its true that he does well to get into these positions and that means he gets more chances at goal, but more chances are no good if you miss them all!!

    He's a good player, but not a great player, and he is far too inconsistent to be relied upon as part of the first XI. I'm sure when Ade and Eduardo are back to their full powers well see less of him and he can develop with less of a spotlight on him.]]>

  • Pete

    < ![CDATA[Although his shooting accuracy was off, Bendtners link up and positional play has definately improved, and he's still a player in development, so I don't mind him missing too much. I'd be more concerned if Ade missed chances like that, as he's a more experienced player.

    Arshavin and the returning innured players seem to be giving us a new lease of life, and the improvements to players like Song has been very noticable in recent games.

    I was pleased with the result and performance, but I didn think some of the players looked a little fatigued from the Roma match. But 4-0 is a bloody good result for a group that played over 120min+ 3 days before, especially against a team employing some dirty tactics.

    Villa have had a very good run, but its good to be back in the top 4, where we belong. Thei're next 2-3 games are pretty tough, so hopefully more of a points gap will open up between us and them. I think Everton could very well overtake them.

    Hopefully Eduardo will be ok in time for tomorrows game with Hull, and Arshavin will be even hungry for more goals!!! :D]]>

  • CON-MAN

    < ![CDATA[agree with you all, im very pleased villa lost aswell, hopefully we'll beat hull but im suprised ur all so lenient at Bendtner. i know in any sport your gonna have days where nothing seems to go right but alot of those chances were textbook. theres no point getting in the right position just to fluff the chance...i think any arsenal fan will remember the days we used to wallop teams 6-0, 7-0 and it was because we took our chances...these days we dont seem to and thats the biggest difference, as someone said above hes a bit to incosistent and to be honest i think at least for now hes only going to be a squad player and if a decent bid comes in, wenger might consider it if we can get someone else in

    that said hope the cut in arshavins foot isnt too bad and he can play against hull, since he cant play champs league i rele wna see him in the fa cup and get too 100%]]>

  • Yemi

    < ![CDATA[The game was really a great one. although i was a bit worried when the second goal did not come early enough.

    I told y'all that the game between villa and t'tham will not be an easy one !!! i was even envisaging a draw but thanks the the white hart lane boys, they took all 3 points.
    We are off to st' james' park next while villa go to anfield. after that after that we have city at the emirates while villa go to old trafford, next we go to jjb while villa are at home to everton.
    I hope and pray we are able to take all 9 points available]]>

  • Gooner Get Ya

    < ![CDATA[We need to win at least 6 out of 9 to really put pressure on Villa. It is not going to be an easy task, but our form is on the up and they are declining so you never know.

    I take it AW is really wanting the FA Cup this year as RVP was rested on Saturday.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Steve you said : "Dev, the first goal was given as an ooijer o.g. if you look carefully you can see arshavin denying it was his goal, so that helps explain why Arshavin didn’t take the pen."

    How does that explain why Arshavin didn't take the penalty ? Forgive me but I am not able to make the connection. Could you clarify ?]]>

  • debs

    I guess cos he wasn’t on a hat-trick, so he didn’t have to take the penalty to get it. anyone could do so and Eboue wanted to.

  • Pissed off

    Zohaib, Funny lad

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[Aaah I see.

    Eboue took a really classy penalty. He's completely changed. I'm almost shocked to see that he actually CAN be a decent footballer. (Previously I might have said he would never be a footballer) I happily eat my words.

    That was probably the best penalty I've seen in the previous two games (Roma and Blackburn) combined. He didn't make it obvious which way he was going to shoot, until absolutely the last second before impact. And it was just so sweetly struck. I also really liked Sagna's penalty against Roma. And of course Kolo's was super.]]>

  • AJ

    I agree zohaib, Eboue has been a revelation and to be honest, I’m quite happy when he gets the ball as he is one of the few players in our team who really takes people on and gets past them and by doing so he has won us a number of freekicks in good positions, some of the others would do well to do as he does and run at pace at defenders.

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[I can't wait until the next match. I've actually been making my own team selection on paper. Here's the team I would field against Hull, with particular respect to injuries, player's who've only just got back from injuries, and players who need a rest :

    ----------------------Fabianski-----------------------
    Toure--------Gallas-------Djourou-------Gibbs
    Eboue---------Diaby--------Song-----------Vela
    -----------VanPersie--------Eduardo-------------

    I think Sagna could do with a rest. And I think Kolo would be a decent replacement at RB. Even Eboue could fill in, if Walcott is to be chosen at RM. Although I think Walcott may be a substitute after playing 80 minutes against Blackburn. Another start might come too early for him. I'd rather ease him back to full fitness. He even got a knock on his ankle and it doesn't look like he wants to fall on his right shoulder just yet.
    I think Djourou will start because of Hull's aerial threat. I don't think Silvestre should start. Clichy could be given a rest because Gibbs is a decent replacement.
    I also think Denilson may be given a rest after playing 120 minutes against Roma and 90 against Blackburn. With Diaby and Song in the center of midfield. At RM I'd choose Eboue over Walcott for the reasons mentioned earlier. I am not too sure over who'll play at LM. If Arshavin is fit (the 4 stitches on his right foot and the possibility of a start after a 90 minute contribution, might be too much to ask of a player who's getting back to full match-fitness) he will start, otherwise Vela seems the likely replacement. I think Nasri could and should be given a rest after playing 120 minutes against Roma and 80 against Blackburn. Up front VanPersie would start and Eduardo, if he's overcome the groin injury, would be his partner.]]>

  • jeffvip

    Good line-up prediction. I agreed with you except I think Nasri will continue at wings and Vela move upfront with Van Persie. Eduardo will stay at bench and observed. Really don’t want him to injured again

  • zohaib

    Yeah good point AJ. That’s the other thing about him that I really like. And other than Eboue nobody would actually run at defenders. But now Walcott and Arshavin are back and available. So hopefully they will share that responsibility.

  • Pete

    I think Wengers said Eduardo wont be back in time for tomorrows game, which is a shame, but at least he should be back in time for his first Premier League game on Saturday. And hopefully our new Arsenal legend-in-the-making Arshavin will be ok to play tomorrow. I think he’d be a big help to RvP getting back to his scoring ways. Something tells me Hull will be take very seriously tomorrow, especailly after the last game they had at the Emirates. They are also the first Premier League team we’ll face in this comp, so hopefully we’ll do the business on them.

  • Pete

    I think Wengers said Eduardo wont be back in time for tomorrows game, which is a shame, but at least he should be back in time for his first Premier League game on Saturday. And hopefully our new Arsenal legend-in-the-making Arshavin will be ok to play tomorrow. I think he’d be a big help to RvP getting back to his scoring ways. Something tells me Hull will be take very seriously tomorrow, especailly after the last game they had at the Emirates. They are also the first Premier League team we’ll face in this comp, so hopefully we’ll do the business on them.

  • zohaib

    I don’t recall Wenger saying that. I recall Wenger saying its a 3 – 4 day ‘job’, and that he should be okay for Hull. Unless he’s said otherwise in his pre-match press conference. When’s that due ?

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[And apparently Arshavin had 8 stitches instead of the earlier mentioned (by Wenger himself) 4.

    And Rosicky's return has been delayed, yet again, by two weeks.

    And Almunia is doubtful for the Newcastle game, being out with an ankle injury ! I want that c*nt Diouf punished with a 3 match ban at the very least ! Damn the FA. Useless fools.]]>

  • zohaib

    < ![CDATA[So Clichy is rested as expected. And Eduardo is out :(
    If Arshavin doesn't start because of the stitches, I'm not sure who'll play at LM. I doubt Nasri would. Although if it comes to a choice between Nasri and one of Denilson,Diaby, or Wilshere I'm not sure who Wenger will choose. Also because up front VanPersie would be without Eduardo, so maybe Vela will come in. Or Vela could start at LM and Bendtner could start with VanPersie :(]]>

  • zohaib

    And Ramsey is not involved ! I would’ve thought with Arshavin being doubtful and Nasri needing a rest and Eduardo being out, another midfielder could be involved. Is Wilshere available ?

  • debs

    he probably intends Walcott to start in midfield…

  • zohaib

    So Eboue starts at LM ?

  • Steve

    < ![CDATA[Zohaib, all I was saying is that if Arshavin had scored the first (which he didn't) aswell as the second, he would have been on for the hat-trick as dev said:

    "Eboue (not Vela and not Arshavin for the hat-trick) took the penalty and the final score was 4-0."

    Surely if he was on was on for a hat-trick in his 4th (?) game after scoring his first goal for the club, no-one would deny him the pen.]]>

  • Steve

    That said, all credit to Arshavin for making the run to the near post, forced the two defenders to make contact with the cross whilst running at their own goal, always a massive risk.

  • zohaib

    Yea, makes sense now. Cheers.

  • zohaib

    And I didn’t really understand why Djourou, Song and Eboue were being so jolly with that c*unt Diouf after the game. I thought that was incredibly daft of them to do such a thing. Imagine if Vieira had been on the pitch. That little b*stard would have got quite a telling off. When you wear a club shirt and specially when you’re playing a game, you’re in a team. It’s about being team-mates. It’s like a family. If you should choose to take sides, your team-mates should always come first. But here they were celebrating with Diouf for some reason. What complete morons. They should’ve been pushing him away telling him what a big fat cheat he was. Twice African player of the year my foot. F*cking worthless thug.