By 1970’s Gooner
Everybody would of course blame “poor” Jens Lehmann for dropping a clanger and gifting Blackburn a very fortuitous equalizer. And it certainly looked that, despite Blackburn’s resurgence in the second half, Arsenal were going to hold out for a very scrappy but morale boosting away win.
But having watched the encounter live I formed the opinion that it need not have turned out such a close and scrappy game.
Arsenal strangely enough were outfought in midfield and could not dictate play as we know they can. The result was that Fabregas was subdued and the supply to the two front men was not as often or as good as it usually is.
There are two major reasons for this.
The first has to do with the fact that due to the physical nature of the opponents, the Arsenal players, in their desire to show to everybody that they can mix it too, forgot how to play football.
Blackburn’s physical approach (especially from that prat Savage) was intended to intimidate them and put them out of their stride.
It did not succeed in intimidating them but it shifted the Arsenal’s players focus and minds away from playing the beautiful game to dishing it out themselves.
This is exactly what happened in the away game at Sparta Prague, a game I also watched live. Except on that occasion Lehmann and the post saved Arsenal.
There is another equally important reason for the loss of midfield control and it has to do with Wenger’s selection to start with Eduardo. This is because Eduardo was returning from injury and had not played in the Premiership yet.
As often happens in football, due to its zero sum characteristic and reliance on team coordination, if one or more of its parts or players is not functioning well the whole of the team suffers.
Giving him his debut in such a tough away fixture was to my mind a gamble. In fact it was a gamble Wenger need not have taken because by doing so he not only weakened the side but had to change a thus far winning formula by switching the formation from 4 4 1 1 to a straight 4 4 2.
In addition, this deprived the midfield area of the extra player it needed on various occasions which would have come from the deeper lying forward. Hleb in other words.
Loss of midfield control deprived Arsenal the usual dominance it enjoys against such teams and resulted in a scrappy and physical game which invariably suited the less technical side.
Blackburn Vs Arsenal. Predictions and betting suggestions
Walcott and Clichy should be the wide players against Blackburn