Blackburn 0-2 Arsenal – 13/01/07 – (Barclays Premiership) 14 January, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Premiership.
I was very pleased with the 2-0 win at Ewood Park and the performance yesterday. We won comfortably with 10 men after a stupid sending off with 2 great goals. We started as expected with Van Persie partnering Henry up front and Baptista was on the bench with Adebayor. The game started normally but it became obvious that Blackburn were out to use the usual tactics and try and hurt us. They nearly scored in the 10th minute, Matt Derbyshire had an open header from a corner at the back post but he just steered it wide. It looked like he was going to score and if he’d got better contact on it we’d have been one down early on.
A few minutes later Robbie “I am an absolute cunt” Savage ploughed into Gilberto Silva with intent to hurt him. The Brazilian was knocked off the ball and on the ground and turned round to Savage flicking his boot out at his shin. It was a little tap but Savage hurled himself to the ground like a sniper had taken him out from the upper tier. Gilberto got sent off and Savage got a yellow for the initial challenge. It was a harsh sending off but I suppose he did intend to kick the player, which is a red card offence, we could appeal but it wouldn’t be worth it. He’ll get a 3 match ban now including games against Manchester United and Spurs. I wonder if Diaby is ready enough to step up into his place but I expect Wenger to play it safe with Flamini. Hopefully Baptista doesn’t play there, I think Arsene has realised now that he is actually a striker. So we now had to play the remaining 75 minutes or so with just 10 men.
In fact losing our influential midfielder made us better, we pulled together and got stuck in. I suppose we were angry with the decision and decided to take the punishment out on Blackburn. The referee was a knob about it though, he obviously made these decisions in the game to make a name for himself, get some TV coverage and read his name in the Sunday’s. So I’m not going to give him what he wanted by talking about him. Oh. If the ref was someone like Poll or something he’d of given them both yellows and been respected for seeing the challenge in it’s true light and letting the game flow on with 11 men on each side, he’s usually quite good at that sort of thing.
With 35 minutes gone Blackburn slipped up and Van Persie was through on goal, Lucas Neill brought down the Dutch striker and as the last man you’d think he’d have to be sent off? But no, the yellow card was shown and instead on having Van Persie one-on-one with Friedel or the Blackburn captain sent off we had a free kick about 40 yards out in not a very dangerous position. The referee was starting to show how shit he was but luckily we’ve got Thierry Henry and he turned this nothing free kick into a goal. Toure was making he was up into the box and Henry spotted him by the back post, he whipped an inch perfect ball in for Kolo to head. It hit the inside of the post and went in behind Friedel. I thought that Kolo had hit the woodwork and took a few seconds before I realised we’d scored, I went mad when we did though; I was worried that we were going to lose this game but now we were 1-0 up with 10 men and in a commanding position.
We went in at half time one goal up and you wouldn’t have been able to tell that we were a man down if you’d tuned in late. We were playing quite well but it was the same old story every game: we keep giving the ball away. I don’t know when Wenger is going to sort this out, I’d love to see a stat showing our misplaced passes and losing possession. Every game we do it and sometimes we are lucky the other team don’t score from it. It wasn’t quite so bad as other games but we were still giving it away far too much.
In the 67th minutes Fabregas played a great pass to Van Persie who found Henry outside the box on the left. He took a shot and tried to bend it into the opposite corner. There wasn’t enough curl on the ball and it just went passed the post but Thierry nearly carried on the record of scoring in all of his games after he’s returned from injury.
One minute later Lucas Neill made a good driving run into our box and whipped in a ball across the face of the goal looking for someone to touch it in. It fell to Derbyshire at the back post who again couldn’t quite divert the ball into the net and it ended up going just wide. He stuck out leg rather than going for the diving header and it looks like he made the wrong choice and missed out on the equalizer.
It wasn’t much longer after that we doubled our lead though, a breathtaking goal from none other than Thierry Henry in the 71st minute. It was classic counter attack Arsenal, we were defending a corner and won the ball out wide, Rosicky set Henry free and he could charge down the other end of the field. By the time he’s made it down the wing near the opposite box he had about 3 players around him but with Fabregas they managed to weave their way around them. Thierry played a one-two with Cesc and with the return pass Henry shot first time on the left side of the box with a beautiful bending shot which went exactly in the opposite top corner of the net. Friedel managed to get a hand to it but it was an unstoppable shot. Another Thierry Henry goal to remember and now he’s scored in every game since his return from injury.
4 minutes later Thierry nearly got his second. Henry was alone in the box and Rosicky spotted him playing a great ball in over to him. Henry took it down well on his chest but couldn’t quite shoot quick enough and he was tackled well to save us going 3-0 up. That was it though, 2-0 the final score and a performance we can be very pleased with. You can see the highlights here and it’s definitely worth watching even if it is just to see Henry’s goal.
The low point was Gilberto getting sent off and now missing the league leader’s trip to Ashburton Grove. We can cope without him though and we’re going to have to. However yesterday was all about Thierry Henry, setting up one and scoring one. I leave you with this beautiful image…he’s back.