Blackburn Rovers 4 Arsenal 3

So much for the great Arsenal resurgence. Another trip to the north-west and another drubbing, but this time the other side of the summer transfer window signings. At the bottom of the Premiership before kick-off with manager Steve Kean facing calls for the sack, ninety minutes later and courtesy of an amazing 4-3 scoreline, Blackburn Rovers had put their own woes to one side to leapfrog the Gunners in the table. Having taken the lead through Gervinho’s first strike on ten minutes, Arsenal dominated play, but failed to capitalise on their further chances. Where have we seen that before?

Surely this kamikaze style of Arsenal play cannot be allowed to continue. The alarm bells have been ringing for Wenger since last season’s 4-4 at Newcastle, a game we will remember where Arsenal held a commanding 4-0 half time lead

Poor away loss

Yakubu then levelled on 25 minutes, but Mikel Arteta’s own first Arsenal strike restored the Gunners’ lead eleven minutes before the break. Five minutes after the break, and with more than a touch of luck, Alex Song was the unfortunate player to deflect the ball past Wojciech Szczesny to give Rovers the leveller from Ruben Rocha’s free-kick. The home side then began to dominate, and they took the lead through Yakubu’s second of the afternoon, and then added a fourth through further Gunners’ generosity with Laurent Koscielny putting past his own ‘keeper. With six minutes remaining substitute Marouane Chamakh made it 4-3 from a pin-point header but despite further pressure from Arsenal with chances falling to Robin Van Persie, Andre Santos and Per Mertersacker, it was to prove another poor away loss for Arsene Wenger’s side.

Gunners’ malaise

Surely this kamikaze style of Arsenal play cannot be allowed to continue. The alarm bells have been ringing for Wenger since last season’s 4-4 at Newcastle, a game we will remember where Arsenal held a commanding 4-0 half time lead. But where do you begin to try to remedy the current Gunners’ malaise, or is it just that the players as a team are just not intelligent enough to get the enormity of the problem, let alone try to remedy it ? Going forward Arsenal are a joy to watch, and they all like to play. Ask to defend however, and they simply go to pieces. The statistics show that Arsenal had the most possession, created more chances, had more shots on and off target, but the main statistic, the scoreline will not make for comfortable viewing for Wenger.

Square defence

Gervinho had the measure of the Rovers’ defence, cutting Gael Givet to shreds in a lively opening. No real surprises when he netted with a low shot past Paul Robinson, from Song’s pass. Through David Hoilett, Rocha and that one time Arsenal target Chris Samba however, Rovers found the fight. The Arsenal defence were caught square, as Hoilett, slipped in Yakubu, whose angled slice beat Wojciech Szczesny. No real panic as Arsenal had seen Andrey Arshavin and Gervinho efforts go begging, and then Arteta slammed in from Aaron Ramsey’s pass to restore the Gunners’ advantage.

Further naivety

At the break,Wenger will have insisted for more of the same, but call it immaturity, or cockiness or damn naivety of the highest order, but Arsenal just fell apart. Rocha’s free-kick saw the unfortunate Song deflect past Szczesny. Song then tried to make amends, but saw his header go wide from Arteta’s corner, and another Arsenal target Scott Dann began to step up his game, as did Steven Nzonzi. The latter’s wild shot caused panic in the Arsenal defence, and Yakubu struck home from an off side poition close in to make it 3-2. It was defensive naivety from Wenger’s men. Substitute Martin Olsson then raced away on the break, and his shot was deflected in from Kocielny, who although improving, is clearly not ready for this type of fixture. Two Arsenal own goals? This was another shocker.

Re-think from Wenger

When Chamakh headed past Robinson from Van Persie’s cross, the Gunners went in search of the leveller, with Mertersacker heading over from close in. By the time Walcott, Arshavin and Chamakh saw further chances go begging, you just knew this awful Arsenal performance – which may be entertaining for the neutral – was destined to spell disaster for Wenger and this brand of football, and especially in these conditions. Arsenal have proved that they do not have enough about them to simply play teams off the park. If this season is not going to be reconciled to abject misery, then, ” We keep what we hold,” has now got to be Wenger’s philosophy.