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:
Sagna – Toure – Djourou – Clichy
Walcott – Song – Denilson – Nasri
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.
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.
Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).]]>