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West Ham United
2 April 2011
• Emirates Stadium, London
Referee: P. Dowd
• Attendance: 60087
FULL TIME! Fantastic point for ten-man Blackburn! Nothing more than they deserve, the fought hard for the point and Arsenal just couldn't break them down. The result means it has been a great day for Manchester United. Is Arsenal's title bid over? It's certainly out of their hands now anyway.
90' + 4'
Very good from Robinson once again. Comes to claim a deep cross from Sagna rising about Bendtner, and despite dropping the ball, he did well to catch it for a second time.
90' + 3'
Sir Alex Ferguson will be delighted if the result stays as it is. Arsenal still looking to press, but Van Persie handles the ball in the Blackburn box when he had a good opportunity.
90' + 1'
Great goal-line block by Salgado! Van Persie's corner found Bendtner at the back post, but the Dane's header was only kept out by the Spaniard.
Not long to hold on now for Blackburn, but having said that, Arsenal aren't pressuring anywhere near enough as they luckily win a corner.
Phil Jones unluckily penalised 30 yards out. Free-kick to Arsenal, but Fabregas smashes it into the wall.
Blackburn are defending even deeper now as they invite pressure onto themselves, but Arsenal just can't find a way through the visitor's defence.
Fantastic defending by Olsson! Great play by Wilshere as he centres the ball from the goal-line with his left foot where Chamakh meets the ball with a shot but Olsson dives infront of the shot stopping a certain goal.
Arsenal really going for it now as Wenger sacrifices Nasri for Bendtner. The Gunners now have Van Persie, Chamakh and the Dane all on.
Red Card Steven N'Zonzi
Horrible tackle by Stephen N'Zonzi! Two-footed lunge on Laurent Koscielny that leaves the France international in a pile on the floor. N'Zonzi receives a straight red card with absolutely no hesitation from the referee.
Hoilett does well to win a corner from Sagna who has struggled with the Canadian today. Almunia manages to flamboyantly tip the corner away for a throw-in.
Nice play by Arsenal as Nasri has possession on the left, finds Fabreagas in the area who attempts a one-two with Van Persie, but all credit to Samba and Robinson who ensured nothing came of the chance.
Fabregas looking to create as the Spaniard chipped a ball into the right-hand side of the area, but Walcott couldn't reach it. Arsenal looking frustrated.
Good stop by Robinson! Van Persie and Wilshere link up well once again on the edge of the box with the England international finding the Dutchman who shot left-footed from 24 yards, but his low shot was saved well by Robinson.
Blackburn having a good period of possession here. The two Jones' in the Rovers' midfield doing well to break down Arsenal at the moment.
Roque Santa Cruz
Blackburn looking to catch Arsenal on the break as Jermaine Jones found Hoilett down the left who cut inside, surged into the penalty area, skipped past Fabregas and went down under the pressure of Alex Song. No penalty given, and rightly so as the former St. Pauli player went down very easily.
Finally what the Arsenal fans have been waiting for; the introduction of Cesc Fabregas who replaced Arshavin.
Good interchange of play between Van Persie and Wilshere as the Dutchman releases the youngster down the inside-left but instead of going for goal, he looked to set up his teammates in the box, but it only results in a corner.
Yellow Card Alex Song
Blackburn certainly appear to coping much better with the Arsenal attack so far in this half. Everything the hosts do at the moment seems predictable and telegraphed. Only takes a moment of magic from one player to change that though.
Lots of early possession for the home side as you'd expect with the emphasis very much on Wenger's men.
We're back underway at The Emirates as Blackburn kick-off.
Half-time at The Emirates. Steve Kean will undoubtedly be the happier manager, but a little more adventure, his team could cause a shock here. Hoilett has looked particularly dangerous, but the longer the score stays as it is, the more likely a certain Spanish international will be introduced for the Gunners.
So close for Blackburn! Robinson launched a free-kick from the half-way line that looked to be sailing straight into Almunia's hands but N'Zonzi threw himself into the air, beating the Spaniard but the header went just wide of the empty net.
Walcott with a chance as he runs at the Blackburn defence in a mazy fashion, cutting in from the right hand side and shoots across goal from just outside the box, however his effort went wide of Robinson's right post.
Yellow Card Michel Salgado
Salgado booked for a late tackle on Jack Wilshere in the centre circle. The 19 year-old has looked fantastic in possession today, but they haven't got him on the ball as often as they should have.
Hoilett once again shows his ability as a lucky ricochet allows him to get past Sagna before easily getting past Squilliaci before shooting right footed but his end product was nothing compared to his build-up play.
So nearly another shocker from Almunia! Olsson was allowed to close down on the Arsenal box and unleashes a left footed drive, but the Spaniard failed to hold on to the low shot, resulting in a Blackburn corner.
Yellow Card Junior Hoilett
Somehow Arsenal fail to score as Van Persie plays Walcott in down the right hand side of the Rovers area and the England international crossed but Wilshere couldn't direct the ball goalwards from just 6 yards out.
Good save from Robinson! Arshavin unleashes a right footed shot from just outside the area after Blackburn failed to re-arrange themselves from a short-corner, but the former Spurs man did well to save.
Poor free-kick by Brett Emerton who skies the ball over the bar. But the visitors are starting to get a bit of joy down Arsenal's right with both Hoilett and Olsson using their pace to good effect. Blackburn free-kick from the left goes straight to Almunia. A wasted chance.
Blackburn with a free kick in a dangerous position, just 10 yards outside the Arsenal area.
Blackburn will be content with how the first 20 minutes have gone. Aside from a few hairy-moments they have managed to keep the Gunners at-bay. They need to get Hoilett on the ball more often. The Canadian has the ability to cause the Arsenal defence no end of problems.
Great pass by Dave Hoilett played in behind Sagna for Olsson to got onto, but his left-footed shot goes wide under pressure from the French right-back.
Arsenal looked to hit Rovers on the counter-attack with Gael Clichy roaming down the left and finding Arshavin in the box who shot towards goal, with a hint of handball coming from Ryan Nelsen.
Heavy tackle by Martin Olsson on Bacary Sagna leaving both players in a heap. Olsson lucky to escape a booking there.
Blackburn attack down the right with Emerton who crosses, but Almunia catches easily to a chorus of ironic cheers.
Walcott causing havoc in the Blackburn defence. First he was allowed to cross from the right which was almost put away by Ryan Nelson and just moments later burst into the box shooting at goal, but only won a corner.
Good move by Arsenal as Wilshere found Walcott down the right before looking for Song just inside the area. Corner is won, but comes to nothing.
Blackburn are defending very deep from the start with Arsenal being closed down tightly as soon as they leave their own half.
And we are underway at The Emirates as Arsenal kick us off kicking from left to right.
At kick-off, the hosts are eight points behind leaders Manchester United, however the Gunners have two games in hand, with this being one of them.
The Blackburn team is: Robinson; Salgado, Samba, Nelsen, Olsson; J Jones, N'Zonzi, P Jones, Emerton; Santa Cruz, Hoilett SUBS: Bunn, Rochina, Dunn, Benjani, Roberts, Hanley, Diouf
The Arsenal team for the match is as follows: Almunia; Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy; Nasri, Song, Wilshere Walcott; Van Persie, Arshavin SUBS: Lehmann, Diaby, Fabregas, Rosicky, Eboue, Chamakh, Bendtner
Hello and welcome go Goal.com's live commentary of Arsenal versus Blackburn Rovers. The hosts need a win to keep the pressure on Manchester United who extended their lead at the top of the Premier League earlier today with a 4-2 victory at West Ham. In their path today are Blackburn who are on a dire run of form after not winning any of their last seven matches in all competitions. Surely this match can only go one way?
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