Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers: we know the result, so not really worth going.

By Billy the Dog McGraw

This is a match that really doesn’t need a review, since it is obvious that the referee has decided on the game before we start.   The only hope we have is that the growing audience on Untold means that Mr Dean might think that after we have predicted what he will do, he will trick us by being a fair minded man in the middle.

Possible, but doubtful.

Anyway, I decided to carry on the old routine by talking me old pal Dennis Bergkamp in his potting shed on the Enfield allotment park, before the game, and he gave me the run down.  Dennis as usual has been looking at both the opposition and its history, and our team.

Here’s his report…

Blackburn is a diminutive principality set in Lancashire which boasts, in its tourist booklet, that it has at five streets from which terrorism has been almost totally eradicated.

Known locally as Blacheborne the town’s name comes from the original word for bleach, which tells you much of what you need to know.

History teaches us that two people lived and died in the town (probably of bleach poison) and their burial urns have since been found.  And that’s by and large the history of the place.  Quite an odd spot to put a football team really although it does explain why the ground is usually empty.

The main road in the area drives through Pleasington Cemetery and is known by the snappy title as Bremetennacum Veteranorum.  The unpronounceability of the name explains why no one ever goes there.

As for the team…

Szychcyzczhcy will play in goal.  There we are, that’s about that sorted.

But the back four? Koscielny may or may not play.  Vermaelen may or may not play.  Sagna will play, so will Mertersacker.   So that’s two.

Who else is left? Jenkinson misses out through suspension, Gibbs is injured.  So who else have we got?  Ahhh… Nacho Monreal.  That’s three.  If neither of the injured centre halves (as we used to call them) can play then we might see Angha or Miquel get a game.  I can’t imagine Squillaci playing, although you never know…

In the middle Jack Wilshere’s fitness is unsure, and even if fit, it may not be worth playing him against Mike Dean.

Abou Diaby could play, as could Rosicky if Cazorla needs a rest.   Aaron Ramsey might also expect to get a start.  Arteta should play.  Ooops that’s four.

Up front it is the usual suspects: Podolski, Theo and Giroud, unless Mr Wenger wants Oxlade-C to get an extra run around and give Theo a rest.  Oh and there is Gervinho who was a different player in the African Tourney.  So maybe it is time to see him again.

As for the opposition here is the team:


Dean Dean Dean Dean

Dean Dean Dean

Dean Dean Dean

And by and large that is about that apart from the usual run of statistics.

We beat Blackburn 3-0 in the semi-finals of the FA Cup at the Millennium Stadium in April 2005 and I was there.  What shocked me was that Blackburn only took up about half of their ticket allocation – and yet despite the huge demand from Arsenal fans, we were not given any extra tickets.  Typical FA cock-up.

Blackburn last beat in the Cup in the 1928 semi-finals and that was their last victory in the competition.

The last time we played each other in the league was last season and we won  7-1.  Unfortunately I was in Australia and missed it.  

Although we are the second most successful club in the FA Cup, and have never been knocked out by a lower league club since Mr Wenger took charge, lower league knock outs were common in the past.  York City, Wrexham, Peterborough… it used to be common place.

On the other hand Blackburn haven’t conceded a goal in the first two rounds they have played in.

So back to the front, as it were, here we go


Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny  Monreal

Arteta Diaby


Walcott Giroud Podolski


The books…

The sites…

52 Replies to “Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers: we know the result, so not really worth going.”

  1. Dean has only officiated this fixture once before and we won 4-0 I think.
    @Untold. Have you noticed the away bias with the PGMOL appointing Dean to Arsenal games. Its unusual to have him at home. A statistic I think they are trying to improve on?

  2. It is important that all fans really get behind the team throughout the match, also, we need to make sure Dean knows that we are there and that he is under public scrutiny.

  3. I know that on the beach we will have Hector Bellerin.
    The young gunner was an unused sub in both our Carling cup wins against Reading and Coventry.

    the young man was delighted by his appointment on the beach. Probably because he is from Spain and they like the beach over there.

    I have seen him play on TV a few times and I must say that he looks a very very promising right back. Strong on the ball, great skills and a really attacking right back is what I have seen from him.

    At the age of 17 being called up means something even if he doesn’t play.

    I think the former Barcelona youth player might have a great career at Arsenal if he continues his progression

  4. @walter

    From reading the play-by-play commentary on various under-21s and NextGen matches, it sounds like Bellerin has been quite influential on the ball in his games.

  5. I am keeping my fingers crossed. On a different subject, has anyone got a view on the new arsenal web site? I think its rubbish. I can’t even find out on which channels the games will shown. It was a lit easier on the old site.

  6. @Gouresh. Thanks for the tip off. I’d not seen the changed site. Not only is the site a nightmare, but it’s also inaccurate. Neither Santos nor Sagna have ever scored for the Gooners according to this apology of a site. Wonder whose bright idea it was to fix what (mainly) wasn’t broke.

  7. @Gouresh & GF60, it’s much easier to navigate on a phone. Unfortunately it’s now not worth navigating.

  8. A day in the life of Mike Dean.

    I read the news today
    About a lucky man who made the grade
    And though the news was rather sad
    Well I just had to laugh

    A crowd of people stood and stared
    They’d seen his (Cheshire) face before
    Nobody was really sure if he was from the PGMOL

    I read the news today
    Four thousand holes in Blackburn’S defence
    And though the holes were rather small
    We exposed them all

  9. Apparently we missed quite a few chances while they took theirs. Same thing happened against Sunderland, but that time we were lucky.

  10. @Ugandan Goon Did Dean score Blackburn goal? Did Dean make Gervihno miss his chance? The bottom line is Arsenal had plenty opportunities to render Dean irrelevant.

  11. @bob,
    We have got Gervinho.
    He was the best player at the ACN.
    He will save our season.
    He will be like a new signing.
    He has been clinical at ACN & will be the same for us.
    These were some of the reasons mentioned on this site for not signing a new striker.

    Guess what, next match is against Bayern who has conceded only 5 goals in their last 17 matches in all competitions. How will we score against them in this form is beyond my understanding. And if we don’t score in the home leg, it might be game over as it will be very difficult, impossible considering our finishing, to win at Bayern.

  12. I think we will have to redesign the definition of AAA.
    A for Attitude
    A for Ability
    A for Application
    Sadly lacking in all three today by the majority of our players.
    Did anyone else notice the seriously pissed off look on Wilsheres’s face as he left the pitch? Another year of spineless displays like this and who could blame him for being tempted should Manure or Barca came calling. Dean was not to blame on this occasion.

  13. With all the recent talk of matchfixing, and some VERY dubious performances by AFC this season,maybe our matches shoud be looked at in closer detail.And no,i’m NOT joking.

  14. Ugandan Goon,
    Don’t be irrelevant.
    We had 24 shots, 11-12 on goal, and no score. I detest The Dean. But whatever else he did or did not do today, converting one of those misses would have kept us in the FA. The Dean might be a clinical _____ (fill in the blank), but we are not clinical in the last third, and have not replaced the lost scoring provided by the recent ex-Arsenal players whose names would be too cruel to mention today.

  15. @Linz
    These lack lustre cup performances have not been confined to this season, it has been going on for three or four years. We have played a number of teams from the lower divisions and almost without fail have struggled to get past them, Leeds and Huddersfield immediately spring to mind. The problem as I see it is complacency, no effort required, we will beat them easily. It happens against so called inferior teams in the league as well on far to many occasions and is the main reason we have not done better in the Premier L and cup competitions.

  16. Dean is not to blame for today but I did notice that when their player scored, Dean was fairly close up to him and the look on his face was one of congratulation.

  17. Linz,
    I’m also gutted, but my reply above (to Ugandan Goon) is applicable to your insinuations of an AFC match fix. Imo, the problem is deeper than that – and something that a concerted all-out effort to snare a quality striker could well have made this and other differences this season. We are as yet not good enough in the final third, and no amount of piling on goals in games already won can, in the end, camouflage our being too light where it counts.

    Yes, “the truly new signing” surely is the difference maker we have craved. So many people defend not spending with endless rationalizations and hopes for the next transfer window. No, says Arsene publicly, they should do away with January transfers altogether; and, in practice, let’s keep the net transfer balance in the Summer windows at zero. These are recklessly conservative penny-pinching actions. And, imo, are the roots of today’s result.

  18. what has Mr Dean got to do with hapless display again? go on making excuses, but pls try to be creative while at it.

  19. @Bob
    I agree entirely regarding RVP and if he were still here we could well have accepted at least one of those chances, but the fact remains that even when he was in the team we struggled on many occasion against far inferior opposition. We seem to keep getting a collective dose of the jitters when these sort of games come along.

  20. @bob
    Talking about a clinical striker, this one is due to @orbinho, we had 70 attempts in our last 3 matches and scored only 2 goals.

  21. Stuart,
    So what? I hate him too. But it’s no bleepin’ consolation, even if The Golem was made happy by the northern side. They defended, in the worlds of our own presenters on Arsena Player, like their lives depended on it. We played hard, no doubt, but there’s not been enough of the clinical edge where it finally does count. And all the stats only provide a quantitative cover for the lack of quality that already should have been purchased by us.

  22. @bob
    Another thing that surprises me is that Wenger continues to stick with Giroud in the center whereas stats suggests otherwise. Below are the goals and shots ratio for this season (only in the league):
    Poldi: 8 goals/41 shots (~1 goal per 5 shots)
    Giroud: 9 goals/77 shots (~1 goal per 8.5 shots)
    Walcott: 11 goals/58 shots (~1 goal 5 shots)
    And I still don’t remember any game where we played Poldi in the center.

  23. Bob, it’s a shame the phrase ‘like their lives depended on it’ doesn’t apply to some of our players on a more regular basis. The ease with which the Bolton player raced past a totally switched off Walcott to set up the deciding goal was ridiculous.

  24. Arun,
    If true, that really is a shocking stat. Surely someone can rise to the occasion and explain it away. I hate the terms clincality, and profligacy and all that. But something (in addition to Nick Bendtner) is rotten in the state of denmark and should/could have been sorted out. (And, speaking of Nick, maybe he would have made a difference. Well, you know. But at least will still own him. And, alas, what is the matter with Gervinho and yes, Giroud, when there are sitters and open goals and wonder moves that will not then be completed. Time after time. I would love them all to come good, ffs. But the shot to goal ratios are awful, I would wager. And the missed open opportunity quotient, well only the stats lovers can provide that number. To me, and I do not for a moment deny the massive refshite that we face – the near miss is our heart-breaking way. Can clinicality (let alone killer clinicality) be developed? Or do some players just have it and others don’t? I dunno. The price tag on the former is clearly higher, while betting on the chance that we can develop it in other more affordable choices seems to be the only road AFC will take. If fans continue to stand with not splashing for the difference-making talent, then it is a choice, methinks, to settle for more days like this than not.

  25. untold should leave the ref’s alone for sometime and start doing a proper review about our players and managers performance in line with the ref’s reviews. lets have a look at what comes out.
    The FA cup was a good chance to get a trophy this season. I have a funny feeling…as it looks like it has been sacrificed for money…how? well, we know for a fact that we cannot win the CL. my guess is that, they will try to go as far as possible, so we are able to earn as much as possbile. that’s the reason why we had so many changes. we could have played our proper team and go to Germany and play defensive and try to get a goal on a break or come back with a point.

  26. @bob,
    I don’t understand why are you using ‘if true’. Because they are facts, they must be true.
    Some more numbers give us a good view (again, only in the league).
    RVP: 19 goals/93 shots (~1 goal per less than 5 shots)
    Michu: 15 goals/75 shots (1 goal per 5 shots)

    So, here is what I think we should do or at least try. Play a front 3 with Walcott & ox(or gervinho) on the wings and Poldi as the center forward. Giroud must be benched against Bayern as we can’t afford to miss the very few chances we are going to create against them.

  27. @Gouresh,
    we could have played our proper team and go to Germany and play defensive and try to get a goal on a break

    I hope you do remember that we are playing the first leg at home, not in Germany.

  28. @arun: sorry i meant that, kids making too much noise, hence was distracted. thanks for pointing that out.

  29. Mick,
    It’s no consolation, but I’d guess some explanation in our not playing second-tier “lowly” Bolton “like our lives depended on it” comes down to an understandable focus on the highest-profile Bayern/CL match (what most of the players come here for, right?) in the few short daze ahead. I do believe this. But also I only mean it as a partial explanation for what’s happened today; not as an excuse. And that said, I think that the difference today would be to have someone to come in off the bench and do the business. We had very good players there today; but there is something lacking (besides Theo’s lapse) in the attack that does not work when the chips are down and it’s do or die.

    Until today’s result, I would have seen us playing like our lives were at stake against Bayern, and even to achieve a result at home. But after today, it would seem a massive challenge to gather up the positives (our many attempts) and fashion a platform for genuine belief (given all the misses, plus the fact that Bayern is rested, and has a top-shelf stingy defense, and that our fans – from the reports – were loudly booing us at the outcome). Arsene has a big hill to climb in the next few days, and another match next weekend. He he has praised the collective resolve and unity of the players. This may be hard to come by, and not being there to know the true psychology, I’d be even more stupid than I am to hazard any opinion. I think there are pluses to today’s inadequate offense to rally behind, but no one here is in their heads. And even so, can the best mood of solidarity be enough to overcome our needing another quality weapon at front. Then again, it seems that the side could learn something about heart and refusing to concede from maybe not so lowly Blackburn.

  30. Arun,
    No offense: I say ‘if true’ in the sense of my last pang of wanting these ratios not to be that bad. Perhaps Walter will summon forth stats that show other strikers on other sides with comparable ratios. I don’t know if it’s down to the ratio itself. of course it’s a significant indicator of something lacking. Somehow, imo, the ratio would be tolerable because it has meant that there are a lot of chances created. But the downside that I cannot get past is the number of those chances which come at the vital, game-changing moment and we do not convert. Like Gervinho and Giroud today, as you know. It’s more that ability to rise to the moment, to the quality of the occasion and deliver the package that is sorely amiss. So even if someone is 5 for 40, but 4 of the 5 are game changers or game winners, that quality would do nicely. I think it’s fair to say that we are not close to it and need to splash for that quality of striker. (Unless it’s the return of Ryo, a whole new signing. Could be, eh?)

  31. Arun,
    I’m also with you on our turning to Podolski. Giroud is good and I don’t wish to trash him; but (like Gernvinho), imo, he misses too many of the sitters and open-netters, etc. There’s that adrenalin rush or panic or x-factor that interferes at the key moment. I surely don’t have it, but I’m not hired to have it, nor have the agent to represent that I have it, nor have the worldwide scouting network to vouchsafe that I’d have it. I’m talking about a razor’s edge of quality here, and the difference between having it or not is massive. Another reason, if it’s winning football that matters most, to never ever let go of your players that do have it. I cannot find the Bean Counters Qualification Cup as satisfying as some in the AFC front office.

  32. @bob,
    I think that it’s not a surprise that we lost to Bradford & Blackburn and Poldi barely had a role in any of the games.
    Poldi was substituted after 69 minutes against Bradford despite gervinho being awful & having already missed an empty net chance. When the match went to ET, I had a feeling that we might regret not having him for the penalties, if it got that far. It went & we scored only 2 penalties.
    He was never used today, didn’t play against Sunderland & only played about half an hour against Stoke. Compare it to Giroud who completed full 90 minutes in all of these 3 matches.
    WHY??? This is the question that Wenger should ask himself that why he prefers Giroud over poldi.

    As far as vital match changing goals come, I think you will need a very detailed study to do such an analysis. Further, I think that every goal is vital except may be when you are 2 or 3 up already. I agree with you that the players who we have lost in the last 2 years definitely had this quality.

  33. @bob,
    I won’t be able to continue this discussion as I have my exams from Monday & it’s already 3 in the morning. So, I will only be able to reply to you on Tuesday only.

    No, definitely Ryo is not a new signing as he has barely played for Wigan due to his injuries. And yeah, we do need to spend some money on a clinical striker. And finding the perfect striker is the club’s hob, not of its fans.

  34. Bob,
    re So what?

    I think it is unprofessional for a ref to show an emotional involvement in the game.

  35. When will you realise on here that blaming refs for losing to lower division teams is just looking for an excuse. Arsenal are now fair game for any physically strong organised team prepared to defend deep and fight. We are not the only mid table EPL side to struggle against their style.

    Thats what we now are- an erratic mid table side- its also what we were last season without RVP.

    As for attracting a top striker- Arsenal does not have the ambition on the field, the pay structure and are not prepared to spend the transfer fee to attract top talent. We are far more likely to find that Bendtner returns than buy any genuinely top talent.

    This site has argued strongly against the club spending money on players for years- now we are seeing the consequences of this policy. The trouble is that we are waiting until we have dropped out of the top level before realising that we need greater player investment- and we wont have the income to support it.

  36. Stuart,
    yes, of course you’re right. what i mean is that in this match its the least of our worries, which go deeper than The Golem’s less than customary perfidy against us.

  37. @bob (the verb)

    You are too much of a moving target for me to consider. In any thread, you have stuff all over. I don’t have the time to judge you on accuracy and precision.

    What worries? (I didn’t see the game, I just read the BBC stuff.) There was a prediction that we would have a player sent off, which didn’t happen. There was a prediction that a call for a penalty would be ignored, and as near as I can tell, the jury is out on that. I haven’t seen a lot about Dean ignoring fouls by Blackburn and calling ghost fouls by Arsenal. Other than Dean being happy to see someone score against Arsenal, I haven’t seen much wrong in reports.

    Having on the order of 20 chances on goal, and none scored. That is a concern, but it happens too all strikers and teams. Personally, I am more concerned about shots on target versus shots not on target. A shot on target that is blocked or deflected or hits the woodwork, could under slightly different circumstances be a goal scored. A shot that is not on target, is not going to worry anyone.

    I can imagine Gervinho feels bad about missing his chances, especially after his AFN (or however you abbreviate it) spell. I know all the boo birds are saying that Gervinho never was a striker (for Arsenal). Other people missed chances too.

    What would be nice, is if people recognized that Gervinho had an off day, and gave him some slack. But that doesn’t happen with the AAA around. My hope, if he plays against Bayern, is that he gets a hat -trick. And the idiots in the AAA will stil bitch about him.

    A person can’t dwell on this loss. Vermalaen is back after injury, how did he look? Monreal is cup tied, do we look like we have a reasonable back 4 for Bayern?

  38. Gord,
    Sorry to be a moving target, mate, for you to consider; but, if one is being targeted, well it would seem better to be moving, wouldn’t you consider? 🙂
    C’mon, mate, in all seriousness, what I think (if you’re asking me, or telling me) is that:
    Gernvinho’s off-day is one of many such off-days which amount to a pattern of serial missing at the goal mouth. It is a well-recognized pattern of his, right now, which is why patience for him among the fanbase has worn so thin. Your kind to him and he does have some nice moves, though he gets too easily pinned in against the back line by the better defenses and has shown not much on figuring the way out, imo. He’s not (as yet) clinical and has had problems at the big near-goal moment from the ACN to the Ems. I wish him the best, but I think he’s so far a failed project at AFC.
    As for shots on target vs goals scored, yes there’s always the chance that it’ll come good; but I think there ought to be a degree of difficulty posed to the goalie factor that’s taken into consideration. Players whose ball lacks guile just don’t score in the EPL, so shots on goal don’t tell me that much. But to each his own.

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