Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: Blackburn 4 Arsenal 3

This may not have been as damaging as humiliation at Old Trafford, but the fragility and the farce on display showed just how deep dysfunction runs at the Emirates.

This was Arsenal at their self-destructive worst, a side seemingly set fair for a reasonably straightforward win against meagre opposition somehow managing to conjure crisis from calm. Twice the visitors led, through Gervinho and Mikel Arteta. Twice their focus lapsed, allowing Yakubu to score, and twice they turned the ball into their own net.

Opponents less riddled with self-doubt that the Premier League’s erstwhile bottom team would not even have allowed Wenger’s disconsolate troops the glimmer of hope provided by Marouane Chamakh’s late strike. Even so, Blackburn, a club who exist in the sort of chaos and uncertainty that is the very antithesis of what Wenger has created, held on, and in doing so leapfrogged their illustrious opponents in the table.

It should not have been this way. Arsenal should have been out of reach by half time. Even by the time Gervinho beat Christopher Samba to Alex Song’s delicate through ball and clipped a shot past a dead-footed Paul Robinson, Scott Dann had been forced to clear a header from Robin van Persie off the line.

That, in effect, seemed to be that. Arsenal were brimming with confidence, Blackburn disintegrating in despair. Steve Kean had seen 250 fans stage a demonstration calling for his head before the game – numbers diminished by heavy rainfall in the north-west – and the disaffection was spreading.

Arsenal’s travelling support crowed that the Scot would be sacked by morning. Their hosts cried paeans to the memory of Jack Walker.

But this is Arsenal. Where there is Arsenal, there is hope. Blackburn should have equalised through Samba, meeting Ruben Rochina’s free kick unmarked at the far post but somehow heading wide, before they did through Yakubu, the Nigerian scoring his first goal for the club with an excellent, first-time finish from Junior Hoilett’s through ball.

Arsenal rallied. Gervinho called Robinson into action, Andrei Arshavin saw a long-range effort parried, and then Arteta slammed home an Aaron Ramsey cut-back. Blackburn sank again. Dann was forced into a brilliant block to deny Gervinho a second. Order restored? Not a bit of it.

Even they, though, could not have predicted how complicit Arsenal would be in their own demise. First, Alex Song inexplicably met a Rochina free kick with his knee, the ball dribbling past Wojciech Szczesny at his near post.

Suddenly, the floodgates were open. As the rain poured down, Arsenal’s back line simply melted away. Mauro Formica should have scored, shooting straight at Szczesny after being set clear; Rochina dawdled when clean through, too.

Johan Djourou was reduced to clinging on to the electric Hoilett as he skated past the substitute.

Then the goals came. Hoilett’s corner found Steven Nzonzi unmarked. His shot skidded across the box, tapped home by Yakubu, the arch-poacher, from a marginally offside position. Then Martin Olsson escaped down the left, darting past Djourou, and saw his cut-back clipped into his own goal by Laurent Koscielny.

Blackburn’s form this season suggested they would not hold on easily, and Chamakh’s fine header from Robin van Persie’s cross prompted the sort of barrage Kean’s side survived more by luck than judgment. Per Mertesacker headed over, Theo Walcott was denied with a lunge from Dann. Blackburn held on. Their season starts now. Once more, Arsenal’s must start again.

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