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West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
28 August 2010
• Ewood Park, Blackburn, Lancashire
Referee: C. Foy
• Attendance: 25059
M. Diouf 27'
T. Walcott 20'
A. Arshavin 51'
90' + 3'
FULL-TIME! BLACKBURN ROVER 1-2 ARSENAL! Theo Walcott opened the scoring in the first half for the Gunners before Mame Biram Diouf leveled before the break. Andrey Arshavin scored the winner minutes into the second half with a neat finish at the far post. Blackburn caused plenty of problems in the first half but Arsenal were much the better team in the second, so they probably deserve the victory overall. So, it's all over at Ewood Park, Arsenal are top of the league. Thanks for joining me today.
WILSHERE GETS IT ALL WRONG! There are appeals for a Blackburn penalty after El Hadji Diouf and Olsson are brought down in the area, but Chris Foy waves play on. Chamakh breaks down the right wing and plays the ball inside to Walcott, who lays the ball off to Wilshere in plenty of place at the far post. The youngster fluffs his lines and sees his weak effort pushed wide by Robinson. Three minutes added on...
Pedersen swings an inviting cross into the six-yard box from the left but there is nobody there attacking it. Clichy then chests the ball out of play for a corner, when he really had more time to make his move. The resulting corner is swung in underneath the crossbar but it's eventually cleared by Arsenal.
A ball is slipped into the path of Walcott inside the Blackburn penalty area courtesy of an inadvertent handball from Jones. The referee initially awards a free-kick to Blackburn for offside, then awards Arsenal a free-kick for the accidental handball, then finally gets the decision right and gives the free-kick to Blackburn.
Pedersen drills another throw-in into the near post looking for the head of Samba. The centre forward causes problems without even touching the ball ball and it falls kindly to Salgado about 12 yards out, but he flashes his right-footed effort over the bar. Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere has come on in the place of Arshavin.
Final change for Blackburn. Steven Nzonzi comes on in the place of the goalscorer Mame Biram Diouf. Jones has dropped back to centre-back now, Nzonzi is playing in midfield and Samba has moved up front. Meanwhile, Dunn has a good chance to draw Blackburn level after cutting inside past his man and shooting at goal from the edge of the area, but the effort is too weak and Almunia claims the ball.
Mame Biram Diouf
Pedersen swings in a corner from the left looking to pick out big Chris Samba. The centre-back is being held back by Chamakh and can't jump to challenge for the ball, but Chris Foy doesn't see the incident and Arsenal clear the ball.
GOOD STRIKE FROM WALCOTT! Rosicky dribbles with the ball through the centre of the pitch and plays the ball to Walcott to his right. Clearly concerned by Walcott's pace, Givet backs away, leaving Walcott to have a shot at goal from 25 yards. The winger unleashes a fierce right-footed strike towards the roof of the net but it flies just over. He pleads for a corner, claiming the ball took a touch off Robinson but Chris Foy is having none of it.
El Hadji Diouf plays a great ball into the area looking for the run of Mame Biram Diouf who, if he controls the ball, is one-on-one with Almunia, but Sagna does well to cut across from right-back to put in a last-ditch challenge and slide the ball away.
Yellow card for Givet. Walcott looks to skip past the Frenchman down the right wing but is being held back by his shorts by the Blackburn defender and Chris Foy correctly hands out a booking.
Yellow Card G. Givet
Nelsen heads the ball forward down field and picks out Mame Biram Diouf, who neatly lays the ball off to Olsson. The Sweden international looks to find Salgado on the right but the full-back loses possession and Arsenal come away with the ball.
Second change of the game for Arsenal now. Captain Cesc Fabregas goes off and is replaced by Tomas Rosicky. Almunia has been handed the captain's armband by the Gunners skipper.
Arshavin finds Chamakh down by the corner flag from a throw-in and the ball takes a touch off the Moroccan and goes out of play, but referee Chris Foy wrongly awards a corner believing Salgado played the ball out of play. Arshavin flicks the ball into the area from the resulting corner and Koscielny then directs it towards goal, but his effort flies over the bar.
Arshavin jinks inside past two players from the left after receiving a pass from Diaby but is quickly crowded out by the Blackburn defence. Meanwhile, Olsson does could on for the hosts and replaces Kalinic. The Swede will play on the left side of midfield, which means Mame Biram Diouf will play the lone striker role.
Looks like Blackburn could be ready to make their second change. Martin Olsson has finished his warm up and looks set to make an appearance.
Almunia launches a long ball down field with Mame Biram Diouf closing him down quickly and Samba looks to header the ball down to Salgado at right-back, but the former Real Madrid man slightly misreads it and the ball escapes him and rolls out of play for an Arsenal throw-in.
Arshavin fires over. Diabyis far too strong for David Dunn, holding off the challenge of the midfielder before sending Arshavin on his way down the left with a long ball forward. The Russian can't quite skip past Samba and goes for goal from a tight angle but can only fire a left-footed strike well over the bar.
First change for Blackburn now. Big Sam makes a substitution after going 2-1 down and brings on David Dunn for Vince Grella in midfield. Dunn's a much more attack-minded player and will look to support Kalinic, with Jones holding in midfield.
Poor defending from Vermaelen. A hopeful long ball is sent forward for Kalinic to challenge for and he looks to have no chance as Vermaelen picks up possession. However, the Belgian inadvertently lays the ball off to the big striker but the mistake goes unpunished as he flashes his rushed shot at goal over the bar.
CHAMAKH FIRES WIDE!! Arshavin flicks a wonderful pass into the feet of Fabregas to his left around 25 yards out. The World Cup winner looks set to play the return pass to Arshavin but somehow manages to find Chamakh approaching the penalty area. He then strikes right-footed towards the bottom right-hand corner but has his fierce strike deflected wide for a corner, which comes to nothing.
GOAL!! ARSHAVIN PUTS ARSENAL BACK IN FRONT! Fabregas out wide to Sagna and continues his run into the penalty area. He receives the return pass just as he arrives in the box but fires his shot straight against a Blackburn defender. The ball breaks to Arshavin at the far post, and he coolly slips the ball past Robinson to put the Gunners ahead. 2-1 Arsenal!
Assist Theo Walcott
Goal Andrey Arshavin
Pedersen robs Fabregas of possession on the halway line and plays a lovely ball over the top of the defence for Kalinic to run on to down the left wing. He then checks inside and looks to find a blue and white shirt but misplaces his pass as Arsenal come away with the ball.
Arshavin and Chamakh combine around 30 yards out before picking out Walcott on the edge of the area. The winger takes a touch to get the ball under control before firing a right-footed shot towards goal but it takes a huge deflection off Givet and flies into the arms of Robinson.
Blackburn kick us off for the second half. No changes from either side at the break. A slight hold up in proceedings after the officials found a hole in the net where Walcott opened the scoring for Arsenal...
45' + 3'
HALF-TIME. BLACKBURN ROVERS 1-1 ARSENAL. It's been the tale of two players who came into the game off the back of hat-tricks. Theo Walcott opened the scoring with a well-taken finish before Mame Biram Diouf grabbed hi first league goal for Rovers with after good work from Chris Samba and El Hadji Diouf. Van Persie has had to go off through injury and has been replaced by Chamakh, while Blackburn have tested Arsenal a number of times from set-pieces. Samba has been immense so far and will have to keep it up in the second half for the hosts to get something.
45' + 2'
Vermaelen climbs all over Kalinic and gives away a free-kick as the big Croat looks to control the ball 35 yards out. Pedersen is given free-kick duties and fires the ball left-footed straight into the Arsenal wall.
Fabregas lays the ball off to Walcott rushing into the penalty area to his right. The England international takes a touch and decides not to cut the ball back into the box with Jones in hot pursuit. Walcott then holds the ball up before Jones gets back and slides the ball out of play.
Mame Biram Diouf earns a throw-in down on the right wing after Clichy's challenge goes out of play. Morten 'Rory Delap' Gamst Pedersen doesn't quite get his throw right as he launches it over the head of Samba and the ball sails wide of the near post.
Song receives the ball on the left side of the Blackburn penalty area. He then comes into the area and has Clichy to his left and Fabregas to his right but dwells on the ball far too long and is soon crowded out by a number of Blackburn players.
Chamakh combines with Arshavin around 30 yards out from goal and lays the ball off to Diaby. The Frenchman looks to strike at goal but Grella does enough to put him off as his shot flies wide of the goal.
Robinson is Blackburn's most creative player at the moment! He fires another long kick into the Arsenal area and Pedersen manages to get a flick on. Kalinic looks to latch onto the ball at the near post but is a little slow in reacting as the ball falls into the arms of Almunia.
As well as Fabregas, Van Persie is making his first start. Unfortunately for Arsenal, the Dutchman is down after a challenge with Jones and has to go off. Chamakh comes on in his place.
Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie
Injury Robin van Persie
Pedersen is in possession in his own half and draws a foul from Song, who goes into the challenge a little bit later. Robinson again fires the ball long down field but Almunia punches the ball clear.
Fabregas looks like he's been moving slowly at times. He's only returning to the starting line-up today after being given extra time off after the World Cup and then picking up a couple of knocks, but he should be okay to carry on.
Blackburn have the equaliser then and they deserve it too. They've had plenty of chances, especially from set-pieces, but have also been a threat on the counter as well.
Goal Mame Biram Diouf
Assist El-Hadji Diouf
GOAL!! MAME BIRAM DIOUF WITH THE EQUALISER! Samba breaks up an Arsenal attack in defence and skips past a couple of players to the halfway line. He then picks out El Hadji Diouf on the left, and he races forward before cutting the ball back to the unmarked Mame Biram Diouf. Arriving in the penalty area at just the right time, he has the simple task of tapping the ball home from close range. 1-1 and Blackburn are back in it!
A number of Arsenal passes, with Fabregas at the heart of the action, results in Arshavin receiving the ball 25 yards out. The Russian checks inside onto his right foot but can only smash the ball into the feet of Jones.
Stat of the day: Arsenal have not beaten a Sam Allardyce team away from home in the league since 2002. Be warned Arsenal fans!
GOAL!! WALCOTT GETS HIS FOURTH GOAL IN TWO GAMES!! Arshavin picks out Van Persie 25 yards out and his slips a great little reverse pass into the path of Walcott on the right side of the Blackburn area. He is far too quick for Grella and outpaces him before firing a low right-footed strike past Robinson and into the bottom left-hand corner. 1-0 to Arsenal!
Assist Robin van Persie
Goal Theo Walcott
The League Cup draw has just been made and both of today's sides have been handed tricky ties. Blackburn travel to Aston Villa in a repeat of last season's semi-final, while Arsenal face rivals Tottenham at White Hart Lane!
SAMBA HEADS OVER FROM A CORNER THIS TIME! Pedersen's delivery towards the near post picks out the big centre-back, who rises above Diaby and Van Persie to direct his header towards goal, but is sails just over.
Kalinic is caught offside. El Hadji Diouf breaks forward down the right wing and fails to see the run of his namesake Mame Biram in plenty of space racing towards the area. Instead, he plays a short pass in front of him to Kalinic, who is marginally offside and Arsenal win a free-kick.
Fabregas receives a pass 25 yards out and slips a wonderful ball into the path of the onrushing Walcott just inside the Blackburn area. The England star looks set to have a pop at goal, but Samba races back to put in an excellent last-ditch challenge to slide the ball away.
NELSEN GOES CLOSE FROM A CORNER! Pedersen fires a cross in from the resulting corner and finds Nelsen around 12 yards out, and he powers a header towards the top left-hand corner, but Fabregas is there to header the ball away off the line. Blackburn are causing Arsenal plenty of problems.
Blackburn are piling on the pressure already. Pedersen's long throw causes danger again and Diaby can only head the ball out to Jones on the right side of the Arsenal area. He then clips a lovely cross towards Samba at the far post but Vermaelen is there to head the ball behind for a corner.
Arshavin fires a long cross field ball over to Sagna on the right wing and he gets forward before attempting to slip the ball into the path of Fabregas. The Frenchman's pass is too inaccurate and is straight into the path of Jones, who clears the ball easily.
CHANCE FOR ARSENAL!! A short corner is played to Fabregas and he manages to cut the ball back to Van Persie, who clicks the ball into the area. After a couple of ricochets, the ball breaks to Diaby on the edge of the area, and he smashes a fierce strike towards the bottom right-hand corner but the ball deflects off Grella onto the shin of Robinson and bounces back to Grella before he gets the ball clear. Early scare for Rovers!
Samba earns a free-kick deep inside his own half after Arshavin slightly catches his ankle. Robinson launches a long kick down field and the ball falls kindly to Kalinic in the area but he can't quite turn the ball towards goal and Sagna hooks it away. Blackburn then earn a throw-in on the right wing but Pedersen's long throw is easily claimed by Almunia.
Arsenal get us underway at Ewood Park.
Arsenal line up: Almunia; Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Clichy; Diaby, Song, Fabregas; Walcott, Van Persie, Arshavin. Subs: Fabianski, Rosicky, Vela, Wilshere, Eboue, Gibbs, Chamakh.
Here is the team news in full. Blackburn line up: Robinson; Salgado, Samba, Nelsen, Givet; El-Hadji Diouf, Jones, Grella, Pedersen, Mame Biram Diouf; Kalinic. Subs: Bunn, Olsson, Emerton, Dunn, Nzonzi, Hoilett, Chimbonda.
Now to the team news. Rovers make two changes from their match against Birmingham last week, with Martin Olsson and Steven Nzonzi making way for Vince Grella and Mame Biram Diouf, who grabbed a hat-trick against Norwich City in the League Cup in midweek. Meanwhile, Arsenal welcome Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Laurent Koscielny back to the starting line-up in the place of Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Marouane Chamakh.
Chris Samba headed home the winner as Blackburn beat Arsenal in this fixture last season, which prompted Arsene Wenger to hit out at the match officials for not giving his goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski enough protection. The Frenchman has highlighted the match between Stoke City and Tottenham last weekend as another sign of team’s over physical tactics. "You cannot say any more it is football, it is rugby on the goalkeepers."
Both sides have had fairly good starts to the their league campaigns so far. Blackburn began with a 1-0 win over Everton on the opening day but surrendered a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 away to Birmingham City last week, while Arsenal followed up their 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield with a 6-0 battering of Blackpool at the Emirates.
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com’s live coverage of the Premier League clash between Blackburn Rovers and Arsenal. My name is Danny Hart and I will be taking you through today’s game.
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