BLACKBURN ROVERS 2
- Dunn 43,
- Samba 68
- van Persie 13
**Blackburn came from behind to leave Arsenal still short of the point they need to make sure of third place. Two mistakes from Lukasz Fabianski that led directly to both home goals only served as a reminder that Arsenal still need to invest in a reliable goalkeeper.
Robin van Persie’s first goal in six months put Arsenal in front after 13 minutes, the Dutch striker finishing off an old-fashioned near‑post corner routine after Bacary Sagna flicked on Samir Nasri’s cross. Conceding from any sort of set piece never puts Sam Allardyce in the happiest frame of mind, though the lead was no more than Arsenal deserved. They could have been ahead as early as the second minute had not Carlos Vela missed the target when a mistake by Gaël Givet allowed Theo Walcott to roll the ball invitingly across the face of goal.
Allardyce had been relaxed enough about this game to take in the Wigan v Hull match earlier in the afternoon, reportedly checking the relegated Tigers for possible bargains. Blackburn had nothing in particular to play for here, though Allardyce’s summer spending
plans are probably based on a mid-table finish rather than a position just above the relegation candidates. With every league place dropped counting as money lost, the Blackburn hierarchy will have been relieved to see David Dunn grab an equaliser before the interval, while the travelling Arsenal support would not have been surprised to see another goalkeeping misjudgment cost their side.
Fabianski had done reasonably well in keeping out a couple of Morten Gamst Pedersen shots from free‑kicks, but when he came for a 43rd‑minute corner and missed he left Dunn a simple tap-in once Keith Andrews had returned the ball back across the six yard line.
Arsenal’s reserve goalkeeper went some way to redeeming himself with good saves from Pedersen and then Junior Hoilett at the start of the second half as Blackburn began to exert some pressure, before Martin Olsson saw a goal disallowed for a borderline offside.
Fabianski was almost as relieved as Mikaël Silvestre when the defender’s sliced clearance nearly produced an own goal, only for his luck to run out from the subsequent corner when a woeful attempt to punch away Pedersen’s cross simply allowed Chris Samba a free header right under the crossbar.
Blackburn Rovers: Paul Robinson, Ryan Nelsen, Christopher Samba, Gael Givet, Michel Salgado, Vincenzo Grella (David Hoillet 58), Keith Andrews, David Dunn (Phil Jones 85), Martin Olsson, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Jason Roberts.
Arsenal: Lukasz Fabianski, Mikael Silvestre, Sol Campbell, Armand Traore, Bacary Sagna, Abou Diaby, Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Eboue (Eduardo 78), Carlos Vela (Andrei Arshavin 67), Robin Van Persie, Theo Walcott.