Another Gaffe, No Winner

So a 1-1 draw coming out of Blackburn, at a time when Chelsea and Liverpool draw, and Man Utd lose. Damn it all.

Eduardo made his full debut last night, as Hleb took the left wing and Walcott the right. Arsenal marginally dominated the game in the first half, though it was clearly not going to be Lehmann’s day. In the sixth minute, a Blackburn cross into the box saw Lehmann out to punch the ball, but collided with Toure in the process – he was down for the count for what seemed a while. Nevertheless, Arsenal opened the scoring with Robin van Persie exploiting poor keeping from Friedel – Walcott’s cross found Eduardo, who shot across goal. Friedel saved but straight into the path of the onrushing Fabregas, who scuffed the attempt, only for van Persie to finish. It went in, in other words. 1-0 to the Arsenal, and the first half should have seen more goals (it was this fact alone that cost us the game). Gallas was stretchered off after a challenge from Santa Cruz, and Senderos replaced him on 24 minutes. Senderos had a goal bound effort cleared off the line later in the half; Toure blocked a menacing Derbyshire attack, and Nelsen headed against the post. Very frantic interchanges, in other words.

In the second half, Arsenal were pegged back, but Blackburn could not finish their approach play. One incident saw Fabregas handle the ball on the line, to his dissapointment, but the referree had already whistled for a previous infringement from Blackburn.

And then Jens gave us ‘worries’.

A pop from ‘way out’ from Dunn was hit straight at Lehmann, who proceeded to let it slip through his fingers, and dibble in off the post and in for Blackburn’s equaliser. Fabregas had a shot blocked and Bendtner (on as a sub later) shot wide in the final minutes.

So only a point away while the ‘big four’ scatter themselves across the table with dropped points. While Man Utd remain hilarious, Jens’ errors are becoming a real cause for concern. Will he be replaced for the Man City game? Almunia will probably be the beneficiary of such a move, though Wenger has shown faith in keepers before despite the odd mistake. This is two in three games, though. Food for thought.

Overall, we definitely handled the game well, though the balance of play certainly fell to Blackburn over 90 minutes. The ‘ifs, buts and maybes’ come out with Senderos’ finish going over the line, or Bendtner perhaps finishing his move, but a 1-1 draw it remains, and we now have to beat Man City, who top the table after three games, to show any genuine intention over Man Utd at least.

After the game, Wenger criticized Blackburn’s ‘violent’ approach, saying there’s a distinct difference between violence and commitment. I wont take away from Blackburn’s performance, which was enough to dominate us on the balance of affairs, but they really are trying to intimidate us any chance they get. The way the team is playing at the moment though is very encouraging, as elucidated by Wenger here as well. He says: “Before we conceded it was not obvious they would score, so that is why we are frustrated. But it was a good performance. We were resilient and dealt well with the long ball and the physical challenge they gave us.

No news yet on Gallas’ injury, that will be forthcoming later in the day, we hope. {Update: Gallas out for two to three weeks.} I guess all we look at now is the ‘Big Four’ table, and laugh out loud at Man Utd:

2 Chelsea 3: 7
7 Arsenal 2: 4
9 Liverpool 2: 4
16 Manchester Utd 3: 2

Here’s hoping for a longer stay down there, Sir Alex.

And a final mention to A Cultured Left Foot, who’ll get the unofficial Third-Gen Award for Excellent Redesigns™. Absolutely nothing wrong with the previous template, but the new banner and new look is a winner, mate. I miss Goodplaya’s old design, though – even if it had Thierry on it.

All for now, more news when it comes.

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