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Rovers 1.v.1 Arsenal

Blackburn Rovers
1 - 1

Ewood Park

Sunday 19th August 2007. 15:00

Attendance: 24,917


There was drama throughout at Ewood Park on Sunday as Blackburn Rovers and Arsenal battled out a fiercely competitive draw.

In a pulsating encounter that was always on the verge of exploding both sides will feel they could have won an open game.

Mark Hughes made two changes to the side that started in Finland. Matt Derbyshire and Brett Emerton came in for Jason Roberts and Andre Ooijer respectively.

Rovers kicked proceedings off with an opening flurry of attacking football. Although no serious efforts were mounted it did serve as an indication of Rovers` approach to the game.

Arsenal seemed content to mount the occasional counter attack but eased themselves into the game. However, they took the lead following a howler by Brad Friedel, presenting prolific Robin van Persie with a tap-in.

It was a frustrating case of watching Rovers fail with great hilarity to clear their lines. A nonchalant header into the area by Theo Walcott presented Arsenal debutant Eduardo with a chance. However, he was put off at the last minute leaving Friedel with a comfortable catch. Alas, he spilled the ball and despite the valiant attempts of David Dunn and Ryan Nelsen to clear the ball tricked invitingly into the path of van Persie, who smashed a crisp finish into the bottom corner from six yards.

Rovers looked to respond but were visibly irritated by Arsenal`s away tactics, holding onto the ball, casually taking time out to nurse a knock. The boys in blue and white were letting it get to them and all structure was lost. In this period a number of Rovers players were booked and chances were becoming few and far between, often resorting to Chelsea style long ball tactics.

Set plays were Rovers` only obvious avenue back into this fixture and from a David Bentley free kick, which was whipped in from the right, Nelsen rose but his well guided header came back off the post.

The half came to a conclusion with Rovers looking disjointed and uninspiring with Arsenal demonstrate all the qualities of a sound away performance.

However, a rousing start to the second half was to be a sign of things to come. Rovers charged at their opponents in search of the equaliser using good football and a high tempo that not even the incessant whistling from referee Alan Wiley could stop.

More balls were being thrashed across the Arsenal penalty area seemingly edging Rovers closer each time. Bentley tried from distance in the 53rd minute and Roque Santa Cruz went close with a header.

Then came a moment of controversy. All afternoon the referee had been very quick to blow his whistle and it would appear the consistency of his decisions was lacking. Rovers were feeling a little hard done by due to some of the decisions and were doubly aggrieved just after the hour mark.

An excellent corner swung across by Morten Gamst Pedersen flashed across the area before being diverted goalwards by the stretching Chris Samba. The ball struck the arm of Cesc Fabregas who was the acting sentry on the post. However, Mr. Wiley had blown seconds earlier for an infringement. Replays suggested no-one in Rovers shirt was doing anything wrong so where this decision came from was quite baffling, and proved to be a huge slice of luck for Arsenal.

Rovers rallied though and the equaliser was forthcoming on 72 minutes when the inspirational David Dunn made a surge towards the Arsenal box, exchanged a one-two with Santa Cruz before unleashing a venomous strike at goal.

Despite being very well hit it was straight at goalkeeper, Jens Lehamn, however, he kindly returned the favour Friedel had afforded Arsenal by letting the ball squirm through his fingers and into the back of the net via the post.

What ensued was an open, end to end frenzy littered by numerous instances of bad blood between the sides that saw the youthful immaturities and petulance of some of the Arsenal players shine through. Yellow cards were being issued freely and there was a sense that the game could explode into a brawl at any moment.

In between all this both sides had chances to win, the best of which fell to Nickolas Bendtnar. He nicked the ball around Friedel after the American charged off his line but heroic last ditch defending thwarted the Arsenal attackers on three occasions. A sensational tackle in the area by Stephen Warnock and a tremendous block from Dunn, were standout moments!

However, the controversy wasn`t finished there and a red card was duly issued. It went to Rovers` captain Nelsen after he hauled down van Persie following a smart turn from the wily Dutchman.

A thoroughly entertaining game was once again testament to the strong attitude and quality of Rovers. Arsenal came with a game plan and in some respects were unlucky to see it not quite work. A draw was perhaps a fair result in the end.

Star Player

David Dunn.

His performace was inspirational. He was a driving force going forward and showed his creative eye on a number of occasions as well as his attacking instinct. He also demonstarted a passion to block, intercept and disrupt everything Arsenal did. He was everywhere.

Player Ratings

Friedel 5

An uncharacteristically bad performance.

Warnock 8

Made two brilliant last ditch tackles and exuded his normal amounts of energy.

Emerton 6

A steady display.

Samba 7

A bit of a mess in the first half but a great second half.

Nelsen 7

Like Friedel made a few errors. Brilliant in the second half and was unlucky not to score. Sent off.

Bentley 8

Had a licence to play a free role in the second half and was commanding and creative. Lost his rag a little in the first period.

Gamst 6

Drifted in and out of the game.

Savage 7

Worked hard to break up Arsenal's play but gave away too many silly free-kicks.

Dunn 9


Santa Cruz 7

Lead the line admirably. Chances were at a premium but proved to be a handful for the Arsenal men.

Derbyshire 7

Got in amongst them and showed some moments of brilliance.

Ooijer 6

Came on after the red card. Helped to keep things steady in the final moments.

McCarthy 5

No time to do anything.

Date:Sunday August 19 2007
Time: 6:55PM

Best of International Football News


I think we deserved at least this point. We out played Arsenal for periods in the second half wich was nice to see following our disjointed and overly aggressive first half display. Still showed our class and that we can miz it with the 'big boys'!
19/08/2007 18:58:00
class? Your team is unfortunately turning into a Bolton. That performance was a carbon copy of the Alardyce school of anti-football. What is more disappointing is the crowd at Ewood Park. I hope Derbyshire steps on the hands of everyone who screamed 'cheat' at Arsenal players after every display of thuggery by the home side. shame
19/08/2007 19:10:00
You didnt really dominate. You only created two chances. One hit the post but Lehmann had it covered the other Lehmann *****ed it up. I agree with G4L. I had liked derbyshire before this game. But that was a shamefull hand stomp. Disgracefull actually.
19/08/2007 20:10:00
Lehmann - let's all laughat Lehmann!
19/08/2007 20:52:00
lets all laugh at chelski lalalalalalala
19/08/2007 21:25:00
G4L and gunnerkid 107..what a load of B****KS. 2 chances??? Gamst hit one into the side netting, Bentley hit a rasping effort, Derbyshire headed one on one with Lehmann.... And Disgraceful???? your players pathetic attempts at diving, time wasting and "head injuries" was DISGRACEFUL!!!! be thank ful you got one point becuase you sure as hell didnt deserve it. The crowd at Ewood are fine thanks... I was there and Arsenal did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING....
20/08/2007 00:36:00
your ignorance is noted Mikey Gamst. Unfortunately the level of football you watch at Ewood and your criteria for 'good football' is as high as Savage's footballing skills hence the mention of Bentley's rasping effort and Derbyshire head 1 on 1 as chances. Pathetic to say the least. Again it is a shame as you actually have a few good players.
20/08/2007 01:22:00
G4L said it all there. I have to comment on one more thing though. Mikey you said the 'crowd at Ewood are fine'. Thats bull***** and you know it. You have a small ass Stadium and you still cant fill it. There were empty seats all around. Your support is *****ty. 24,917 is terrible attendance. We get more to watch reserve FA cup games. And you want to know why you dont get more people to come is because you consider what you produced today as good football. Its *****. You go around trying to injury people.
20/08/2007 02:22:00
And you want to talk about time wasting and diving now. The only dive of the whole game came from Savage. It was the most pathetic dive ever. And nobody at Blackburn can talk about time wasting. When you came to the Grove for the FA cup you spent the entire 90 mins timewasting and trying to earn a draw. You barely made it passed your own half. Mikey your ignorance about football shines right through your comments.
20/08/2007 02:25:00
Christ lads, leave it out. Draw's about a fair result, Arsenal did more than their fair share of whingeing and moaning, no doubt about it, but we'll take the point and move on to Goodison next week, regardless of what the gooners have to say.
20/08/2007 04:45:00
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