Report: Arsenal 0-1 Blackburn


Arsenal crashed out of the FA Cup with a 1-0 defeat to Blackburn at the Emirates today.

Laurent Koscielny passed a fitness test and started alongside Thomas Vermaelen, while there were returns to the side for Francis Coquelin, Gervinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thomas Rosicky.

The visitors had an early chance when a free kick found Olsson at the back post but he could only hack his shot wide. Arsenal had their first attempt in the 10th minute when Abou Diaby flicked a header from a free kick beyond the far post.

Arsenal dominated possession, with Blackburn willing to sit back and get men behind the ball, and nothing much happened. Arsenal won a series of corners, each one less threatening than the last.

There was a shot of the Blackburn manager who looks like he was separated at birth from referee Mike Dean, and that was about as exciting as it got in the opening 20 minutes or so.

After some more corners, Arsenal finally tested the keeper when Abou Diaby planted a header firmly on target, but Kean showed strong hands to tip it over the bar. The young keeper made another good save from his own player after a defensive header was sent looping towards the top corner.

Some more nothing happened. Francis Coquelin tried to win a penalty by mimicking the front cover of Platoon and Gervinho dragged a shot wide. And the Ivorian was found wanting just before half-time after a great Rosicky pass sent him clean through on goal. With just the advancing keeper to beat, from inside the box, he screwed his shot wide when it looked easier to score.

In the second half there was early danger from Blackburn when Thomas Vermaelen deflected an Olsson cross just wide, and from the resulting corner Mikel Arteta had to head away a goalbound effort.

At the other end Giroud got a header from a corner on target, Oxlade-Chamberlain had a left-footed shot blocked and Abou Diaby fired a 30 yarder wide of the mark. It was pretty much one way traffic, but Arsenal were driving a Flintstones car and going uphill.

Tomas Rosicky tried a shot from distance, it went wide. He then tried again and hit the bar, before feeding Gervinho whose shot from inside the box was blocked. Abou Diady then tested Kean with a shot from distance which the keeper grabbed at the 2nd attempt.

Arsene Wenger made three changes, bringing Wilshere, Walcott and Cazorla on and taking Rosicky, Gervinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain off. Almost immediately though, Blackburn went ahead.

They got free down the left, Szczesny parried away a shot, it fell to Kazim-Richards, he mishit his shot into the ground, it bounced up, hit the post and deflected in as a bemused Vermaelen looked on. 0-1.

Arsenal pressed for an equaliser but struggled to create chances against a Blackburn side who sat deep. Nacho Monreal shot wide with his left foot, Diaby had a shot blocked then forced Kean into a good save, and the keeper was the hero again saving from a Theo Walcott header after a good Wilshere cross.

Late on Mikel Arteta smashed a shot into the side-netting but at no point did Arsenal ever really look like scoring.

It was depressing, turgid stuff from a team who were supposedly going to treat this game like a final.

Hardly enough to have Bayern quaking in their boots, and once again a season looks like it’s going to end potless.

Not good enough,

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