Arsenal (2) – (0) Blackburn Rovers
Senderos (3′), Adebayor (90’+1)
The Emirates Stadium, London
What a weekend!
Well I say weekend, it only really started on Sunday when Manchester United hosted neighbours City in the early kick off. City put in an impressive performance and did us a huge favour by winning at Old Trafford, meaning that we were still top with a game in hand.
And now Arsenal have extended that lead to 5 points, with 12 games remaining.
People will say that the season is far from over – and rightly so, especially still having to visit Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge – but the fact of the matter is Arsenal travel to those places not having to win. We can draw these games, and the great thing is that United and Chelsea will have to play to win and that is when Arsenal are at their most dangerous, when sides attack us.
But the same couldn’t be said about Blackburn.
Arsenal started excellently, with Senderos scoring from a cool Eduardo corner after only 3 minutes – and for the next 20 Arsenal moved the ball around well and caused the visitors all kinds of problems. Unfortunately though, we couldn’t grab that vital second and Blackburn eventually started to come out just before the half time interval.
The second half was hit and miss, with Arsenal creating a few half chances but with Blackburn content with having 10 men behind the ball and seemingly trying to keep the score down we found it tough to increase the lead. Most of the game was frustrating to watch, partly because of Blackburns hugely negative tactics, and partly because at only 1-0 a single set-piece or mistake could cost Arsenal vital points in the Championship race.
But with seconds of the game remaining, a great run from Alexander Hleb was finished off with style from the in-form Adebayor who smashed his shot into the net.
And that was pretty much the story of the game – an early goal, and a late goal sealed all the points and put Arsenal firmly in the drivers seat.
Arsene said after the match that despite the lack of usual fluency (not helped with Rosicky injured and Fabregas having to play wide) the team was sharp mentally, and it’s hard to argue with that because Lehmann (in for a poorly Almunia) hardly had anything to do over the 90 minutes. Although he did well when called upon.
It’s worth pointing out that Senderos also put in another excellent performance, and really has struck up a great understanding with William Gallas. Arsene really has a big problem coming into the coming weeks – who should start? Toure or Senderos?
Because after seeing the ACN game between the Ivory Coast and Egypt, it seems like Kolo could do with a rest for a couple of weeks to get his mind together.