Samba seals Rovers comeback
Dunn and Samba secure 2-1 victory over Gunners
Last Updated: 04/05/10 8:42am
Samba seals the win for Blackburn
Arsenal missed the chance to clinch third place as they were beaten 2-1 by Blackburn at Ewood Park.
The Gunners made a bright start and were rewarded after 13 minutes when Bacary Sagna flicked on a corner and Robin van Persie headed home for his first goal since returning from injury.
Blackburn gradually gained a foothold in the match and equalised just before half-time courtesy of a close-range effort from David Dunn.
Both teams had confident penalty appeals waved away early in the second half before Chris Samba headed Rovers in front on 68 minutes after Lukasz Fabianski's frailties had been exposed.
Arsenal pushed forward in the closing stages in pursuit of a point but rarely threatened and must now wait to seal a spot in next season's UEFA Champions League group phase, while Blackburn rise three places to tenth after another impressive result at home.
There was an air of casualness about the Gunners as early as the third minute when forward Carlos Vela gave an indication of why this was his first Premier League start in a year and a day.
Ryan Nelsen failed to cut out the through-ball meant for Theo Walcott but with goalkeeper Paul Robinson's indecision keeping him rooted to his line the England winger was able to collect and cross only for the Mexico international to sidefoot wide of an empty goal.
Three minutes later Blackburn's threat from set-pieces was illustrated as Morten Gamst Pedersen's 25-yard free-kick had Fabianski diving to his right to save well.
But it was a dead-ball delivery by Arsenal's Samir Nasri in the 14th minute which produced the opening goal.
Sagna flicked on at the near post and Van Persie was on hand to head in his eighth goal in eight matches against Rovers - more than he has scored against any other Premier League club.
The Holland international then forced Robinson into a low save to his right from a 25-yard free-kick on the half-hour.
Set-pieces continued to provide the best chances and Fabianski, who did not look comfortable under pressure, had to tip over another Pedersen free-kick.
Three minutes before half-time another corner brought a goal, this time an equaliser for Rovers.
Pedersen's left-wing corner dropped to Nelsen who rolled a pass to Keith Andrews on the right of the penalty area and his driven cross deflected off striker Jason Roberts to Dunn who tapped home at the far post.
Four minutes after half-time Pedersen's miss from a one-on-one with Fabianski was ruled academic by an offside flag.
Over the bar
The Norway international had run from deep to collect Dunn's pass through the middle of Arsenal's defence but he overhit his lob and the ball landed on top of the net.
Within five minutes Pedersen had a chance to redeem himself from Andrews' dinked pass but shot too close to Fabianski.
As he tried to reach the rebound he was felled by a clumsy challenge from Sol Campbell but referee Martin Atkinson awarded only a corner.
On the hour substitute Junior Hoilett's first touch having replaced Vince Grella saw him fire in a shot destined for the top corner which Fabianski palmed behind.
Wenger sent on Andrey Arshavin, making his first appearance since the end of March after a calf problem, for Vela but before the Russian had chance to get involved Blackburn took the lead.
Pedersen's corner was drilled into the six-yard area and Fabianski came but failed to connect, allowing Samba to head in from three yards out.
Wenger sent on Eduardo for Eboue in an attempt to get the equaliser but Allardyce responded by taking off playmaker Dunn and sending on centre-back Phil Jones to shore up the defence in a five-man backline.Rovers held on for four minutes of added time to move up to 10th in the table and sign off with an impressive record at Ewood Park, where they have lost only three times.
|Blackburn Rovers||Team Statistics||Arsenal|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|6||Shots on Target||3|
|3||Shots off Target||2|
Barclays Premier League
|15||West Bromwich Albion||15||15|
|17||West Ham United||15||13|