Winning Sweet FA: Arsenal 0 - 1 Blackburn – Analysis & Player Ratings

Final Score
Arsenal 0 - 1 Blackburn

Arsenal welcomed Blackburn to the Emirates Stadium in hope of progressing to the Quarter-Finals of the FA Cup. The Rovers would have been happy to bring The Gunners back to Ewood Park, but instead, they managed a monumental FA Cup upset.

The first half held nothing of much value for either side. Blackburn had set themselves up to absorb any Arsenal moves, and to perhaps launch a few counter attacks when the opportunity arose. The Rovers were looking to frustrate Arsenal, and they were doing a good job of it.

The Gunners laid on relentless attacks, but the all too familiar problem of actually finishing our chances was ever-present.[quote_right]“To the average fan, it seemed as though Arsenal had dominated the game. I just wonder if Blackburn were the ones in control all along.”[/quote_right]

Tomas Rosicky in particular was working tirelessly to engineer an Arsenal goal, but the harder he worked, the worse our finishing became.

In the dying moments of the first half, he slipped in Gervinho behind the back four. The Ivorian only had the goalkeeper to beat, but managed to steer his tame shot wide instead. Unfortunately, his finish was better suited to a Sunday League Centre Back.

The second period held even less joy for Arsenal fans. Blackburn had succeeded in defending against a hapless Arsenal side, and were now looking to grab their reward.

Arsenal were still creating chances through the midfield, but the front three of Gervinho, Giroud & Oxlade-Chamberlain were all determined to miss ever single one of them. The Gunners were looking hopeless.

In the seventy-second minute, disaster struck. Szczesney pushed out a shot to the feet of Colin Kazim-Richards, ten yards from goal. The Turk drilled his shot into the ground, causing it to bounce over Thomas Vermaelen. The ball bounced off the post, and into the net. Arsenal were in deep trouble, with just twenty minutes to save themselves.

In response, Wenger threw on Cazorla, Wilshere & Walcott, in place of the Rosicky, The Ox, and the dreadful Gervinho. The changes certainly opened the game up, but Blackburn were determined to hold on to their lead.

Chances came and went, cross-bars were rattled, and penalty shouts were waved away by the Mike Dean. In the end, the final whistle blew on Arsenal’s last realistic chance of silverware this season.

To the average fan, it seemed as though Arsenal had dominated the game. I just wonder if Blackburn were the ones in control all along.

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[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]

Szczesny: [6/10]
Had almost nothing to do all game, but should have done better when parrying the shot which led to the Blackburn goal.

Coquelin: [7/10]
Played in a slightly unfamiliar right-back position, Coquelin did well throughout the game. He was solid at the back, and got forward a number of times to help out attacks.

Koscielny: [6/10]
Due to Arsenal’s possession for large chunks of the game, Laurent had almost nothing to do all game.

Vermaelen: [6.5/10]
A solid enough game, didn’t make any real defensive errors, and did well offensively for set pieces. However, in defeats like these, the Captain should always be scrutinised. Where was the leadership?

Monreal: [6.5/10]
Nacho is settling in just fine. He was untroubled at the back, but got forward on a number of occasions, putting in some genuinely dangerous crosses.

Arteta: [6/10]
The Blackburn midfielders were allowing Arteta to circulate the ball, but Mikel’s passing in the final minutes was lacking quality. Also had a chance right at the death, which he slammed wide.

Diaby: [6.5/10]
Did well going forward, and kept the ball in tight situations. But failed to create anything of real value for the front three. Still recovering for a long stretch on the sidelines.

Rosicky: [7.5/10]
MOTM. Tomas was outstanding today. He worked hard to hassle Blackburn, his passing was accurate, and he engineered a few good chances. His long range effort which hit the bar, was a screamer. Replaced by Cazorla.

Gervinho: [4/10]
Dismal. Hardly surprising that Gervinho can;t handle Blackburn, when he struggled against Bradford. His game was plagued by failed dribbles, failed passes and failed finishes. Replaced by Wilshere.

The Ox: [6/10]
Not a great game for The Ox. his passing wa suspect, and he failed to penetrate the Blackburn defence with his powerful trademark runs. Replaced by Walcott.

Giroud: [6/10]
Olivier didn’t have great service today, but there were instances where he certainly could have done better. Tame headers and lazy passes let him down today.


Walcott: [6/10]
Looked lively, but had almost no time on the ball. was fouled in the box, but the penalty was waved away due to an incorrect offside decision.

Cazorla: [6/10]
Touched the ball once or twice to make some very safe, standard passes. Needs to innovate.

Wilshere: [6.5/10]
You can always see that Jack wants it more than everybody else put together. Simply didn’t have the time to weave his magic.

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[title]Winning Sweet FA[/title]

There you have it. Realistically, Arsenal now have to wait another year to challenge for a trophy. Of course, with performances like today, that’s hardly likely.

Blackburn set out to frustrate Arsenal today, and spring a surprise attack. They did that excellently, and they took their solitary chance to win the game. A lesson Arsenal need to learn, and quickly. Bayern Munich will be licking their lips.

What did you think of the Arsenal Vs Blackburn match? Share your views in the comments section below.

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