Saturday, November 18, 2017

Premier League: Arsenal 0 Blackburn 0

SoccerNews in English Premier League 2 Apr 2011

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Arsenal fans booed their team off the field after being held to a frustrating 0-0 draw with Blackburn at the Emirates on Saturday.

The Gunners missed a series of chances and even when Rovers had Steven N’Zonzi harshly sent off in the 75th minute they could not find a way past a well-organised Blackburn defence.

The draw leaves Arsenal seven points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United, who won 4-2 at West Ham earlier in the day.

Even the return of captain Cesc Fabregas from injury as a second-half substitute could not inspire Arsenal to victory.

They at least started quickly and certainly had chances to take the lead in the first half with Jack Wilshere missing a wonderful opportunity when he inexplicably side-footed wide following a one-two with Samir Nasri in the 30th minute.

Livewire winger Theo Walcott, back from injury, also went close with an early effort that was smothered by goalkeeper Paul Robinson but the longer the game went without a goal the more Rovers came into it.

They almost took the lead when goalkeeper Manuel Almunia embarrassingly allowed a tame Marin Olsson shot to slip through his grasp – and the Spaniard was mighty relieved to see the ball roll narrowly wide.

The Arsenal keeper also made a terrible hash of dealing with a long Robinson clearance, allowing N’Zonzi a header that bobbled past the post. And perhaps if N’Zonzi had not collided with his own team-mate Christopher Samba as he jumped, Almunia’s error could have been more costly.

In the second half the home side became increasingly frustrated as Blackburn’s defence kept them at bay. But when N’Zonzi was sent off for a two-footed challenge on Laurent Koscielny, Arsenal gained new impetus.

Substitute Marouane Chamakh should have put them ahead in the 80th minute when Robin van Persie’s clever back-heel and Wilshere?s cut-back gave him a wonderful chance from 10 yards – but his effort was blocked.

Then in the final minute, Nicklas Bendtner’s header from a corner struck Michel Salgado on the line as Arsenal’s frustration was complete.

The result leaves Manchester United firmly in control in the title race, now seven points clear although Arsenal do have a game in hand.

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