I’m afraid to say it was the same story again as Arsenal’s woeful defence won the day for a lowly Blackburn team that used to be sitting at the bottom of the table. After taking the lead twice at Ewood park, Arsenal surrendered the lead to soft goals, including two own goals, which still leaves huge questions over our shaky defence.
It is obvious that Arsenal haven’t ‘turned the corner’ as the staff have been claiming after the draw at Borussia Dortmund, but yet I was still confident that the gunners came into a fixture that had victory served up on a platter and a fixture that gave them a great opportunity to start turning that corner and slowly gaining their confidence. No offense against Blackburn, but this team was probably in worse circumstances than Arsenal coming into the match and in all fairness we should have capitalised on that.
In all fairness we had a great first half, playing good football and creating a host of chances to kill the game. But I have said this a few times in recent performances and it seems to be a recurring theme that after taking the lead we lose urgency and almost look to relaxed. Sometimes I don’t see why we don’t push hard to kill the game off, which would at least avert the need for our defence to come into action. It was only after the second equaliser that Arsenal seemed to at least try to kick into gear, which should be happening the whole game.
Now we come to defence and a woeful defence at that. After putting in a spirited performance in Germany, it was a sad sight to us at sixes and sevens at the back against Blackburn that is hardly the greatest in attack. If this happens to us at places like Ewood park, I don’t even want to imagine how we will fare against that likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.
Koscielny, after taking a few steps forward against Dortmund in the last 65 minutes at least, took fair few dozen steps back with a dismal display. Similarly I had high hopes for Brazilian defender Andre Santos, but it seems in Santos we have that familiar player who knows plenty on attack but lacks on defence. The Brazilian failed to push up in the line to put Yakubu onside for his first goal and second goal, the latter probably should have been pulled for offside anyway but Santos should have pushed higher and not left that to chance.
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After another lacklustre performance, things don’t look optimistic for the Arsene Wenger and I wouldn’t want to trade places with him anytime soon. We see ourselves waiting for our saviour in Thomas Vermaelen to make his return to our ailing defence and also Jack Wilshere to add more dominance to midfield, two players that should not have at all been needed to win this game. If anything, Arsenal’s upcoming game in the Carling Cup gives promising young Miyaichi and new signing Park to at least stake claims on starting spots in the team. But it is defence where we are sorely lacking. Conceding 13 goals in 3 matches is absolutely dismal reading for any team.
on the team’s second-half performance…
“It’s difficult to explain. I feel overall we created many chances, even in the second half. It just looked like we had a lack of focus for what we knew they were good at – corners and free-kicks.”
on concerns about Arsenal’s defending…
“You cannot say you are not worried when you see the performance we put in today. It’s just not defensively solid enough. When you are 2-1 in front against Blackburn and you know that you are solid defensively, we will score goals.”
on a disappointing afternoon…
“It was not all negative today, that is the frustrating thing. There were a lot of positives as well, we just didn’t bring the focus to get anything out of the game. At the moment we do not have the capability to focus defensively for 90 minutes to win games. It is important you do not give cheap goals away like we did.”
on Arsenal’s start to the season…
“It’s just not good enough and, of course, we are very frustrated. The spirit in the team is quite willing but if you look at the number of goals we have conceded it is just not good enough. You cannot come here and concede four goals the way we did today. On the other hand I believe that the group will take off but it is important that we can get results.”
on speculation about his future…
“Speculation is part of modern life, there is nothing I can do about that. My future is focused on me giving the best for the Club.”
Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Santos
Gervinho Van Persie (c) Arshavin
Wojciech Szczesny | 6.0: Although the young Pole has conceded 12 goals in the last 2 Premier League games, things could have been much more embarrassing without his efforts. Could not be blamed for the first three goals but perhaps should have blocked the cross on that set-up the fourth.
Bacary Sagna | 5.5: Had a very tough time against Hoilett on the wing, losing out a couple of times to the Blackburn attacker. Had some good moments on attack down the wing, but was taken off in the 52nd minute for Djourou after presumably sustaining an injury.
Laurent Koscielny | 3.5: A total enigma. So inconsistent it is makes you want to pull your hair out. After a great back-end performance at Dortmund the Frenchman made way too many mistakes tonight. A night that will be hard to forget.
Per Mertesacker | 5.5: He looked much more solid that Koscielny, although at times he looks as though he lacks work-rate. It is worrying he seems to have no hang-time on the high ball, hardly getting off the ground to try and win the aerial threat. Should have scored the equaliser in the dying minutes.
Andre Santos | 3.5: A debut to forget for the Brazilian. Responsible for both the Yakubu goals after he failed to show any defensive intiative and simply push up with the defensive line and also gave the ball away way too cheaply on attack, when he was in a compromising position up the field. Did put in some good balls in the final minutes but overall a bad performance.
Alex Song | 6.0: A superb start by the Cameroon midfielder by providing an assist for Gervinho for the first and finding Ramsey who set-up the second, although he faded badly in the second half and could not be blamed for the own goal after Arsenal failed to deal with a simple chip ball into the area. Was subbed in the 72nd minute for Chamakh.
Mikel Arteta | 6.5: Similar to Song, the Spanish maestro started great in the first half buzzing around the pitch to win challenges and distribute the ball. Finished well to score Arsenal’s second after Ramsey rolled the ball into the box from out wide, but faded in the second half
Aaron Ramsey | 6.0: Yet another who shone in the first half and faded badly in the second. Looked good on attack and provided the assist for Arteta’s goal, but went back to his usual ways in the second half after failing to deal the pressure Blackburn were exerting.
Gervinho | 6.5: Venomous on attack scoring within the opening ten minutes after a brilliant through ball by Song. Had great moments in the match, but sometimes took on the defender when he should have played the ball. A stark example of this was when he made an excellent run toward goal where Van Persie found got himself into a position unmarked, but opted to go for goal on his own.
Andrey Arshavin | 6.0: The little Russian looked ready to play in the first half and produced a great volley which demanded a top-class save from Robinson. Like many others, faded in the second half and was substituted in the 64th minute for Theo Walcott.
Robin van Persie | 6.0: Like every other game, the Dutchman was isolated up front and had little impact on the game bar the last quarter-hour or so providing a great assist for Chamakh and producing a few shots of goal which required top-class saves from Robinson
- Notable Substitutions
Chamakh, Walcott | 6.0: Both tried to inspire a comeback after coming off the bench, particularly Marouane who did exceptionally well to guide Van Persies pin-point cross on goal despite the attention of two Blackburn defenders.
Djourou | 2.5: Boy oh boy. Although he was played out of position it was just dismal performance. Failed to execute a straight forward covering tackle which lead to Blackburn’s fourth goal, spurned opportunities for crosses and was turned inside-out by Hoilett on the wing. One to forget.
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