Yak attack stuns Gunners
Sloppy Arsenal score two own goals in Ewood Park thriller
By Rob Parrish - Follow me on Twitter @skysportsrobp. Last Updated: 17/09/11 6:45pm
Gervinho fired Arsenal ahead, but the Gunners were made to pay for defensive blunders
Yakubu bagged a brace for Blackburn and Arsenal scored two comical own goals as the pressure eased on under-fire Rovers boss Steve Kean with a 4-3 victory at a soggy Ewood Park.
But for Gunners manager Arsene Wenger, who hoped a corner had been turned after last week's unconvincing victory over Swansea and the midweek draw away to Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League, it is back to the drawing board after some truly dismal defending.
Twice the North London club led against a side who had previously been unable to claim three points in the Premier League, with Gervinho applying a fine finish to Alex Song's slide-rule pass after just 10 minutes and then Mikel Arteta driving home Aaron Ramsey's cut-back before the interval.
However, the demons which emerged in the recent 8-2 drubbing at Old Trafford rose back to the surface as the powerful Yakubu first showed a deft touch to divert Junior Hoilett's beautiful pass beyond Wojciech Szczesny.
Song could then only deflect Ruben Rochina's clipped free-kick beyond his own goalkeeper early in the second half before Yakubu showed his poacher's instincts to tap home from close range after Hoilett's deep corner went all the way to the far post where Steven N'Zonzi drilled the ball back in across box.
And things went from bad to worse for the visitors in the 68th minute as a lightning break from the home side saw Martin Olsson released down the right where he drove into the box and fired across goal for the hapless Laurent Koscielny to turn the ball home.
Subsitute Marouane Chamakh set up a grandstand finish with his fine header from Robin van Persie's cross five minutes from time, but the Gunners could not find an equaliser as Kean, who came under fire with a demonstration from home fans prior to the game, celebrated three vital points.
Arsenal had given Kean just the start he must have feared when Gervinho scored his first goal for the Gunners in the 10th minute.
Song's masterly run in midfield was followed by a peach of a through-pass that Gervinho ran on to and hit first-time, the ball going through Chris Samba's legs and across Paul Robinson into the far corner.
Samba exposed Arsenal with a free header at a free-kick - but high and wide - before Andrey Arshavin then brought a sprawling save out of Robinson with a sharp low shot from 20 yards.
Gervinho then wasted two more chances to extend the lead, and Rovers made the Gunners regret such largesse when Yakubu brought the scores level with the neatest of finishes in the 25th minute.
Arsenal had half-cleared the ball but Hoilett produced a pass to match Song's, and Yakubu instinctively nudged it past the on-rushing Szczesny to score.
Samba's presence at set-plays continued to upset Arsenal, who had been heavily linked with a move for the giant Congo defender in the summer, and he won a corner but again headed over.
Ten minutes before the break a patient Arsenal build-up led to an incisive move that saw the Gunners regain the lead. Ramsey surged into the box on to Song's pass and, with Blackburn's defence expecting a ball to Van Persie at the near-post, cut the ball back for Arteta to rifle the ball into the roof of the net.
It was the Spaniard's first goal for Arsenal - but his second against Blackburn this season, having scored a last-minute winner for Everton from the spot.
Gervinho was wasteful again after good work by Arshavin, taking the shot when a pass to van Persie would have given his skipper an open goal, and Scott Dann blocked well.
Blackburn began the second half with obvious urgency and Arsenal looked rattled when Arshavin conceded a free-kick on the left of the area five minutes after the break.
Such fear was justified when Rochina floated in the free-kick and the ball bounced off Song's knee and into the net for an own goal.
Fired up by the equaliser, Rovers went on a series of offensives ending with Yakubu stunning Arsenal and putting the home side ahead for the first time.
Hoilett's corner ended up at Nzonzi's feet at the far post and he drove the ball at goal with Yakubu - with a suspicion of offside - stabbing it in from close range.
Van Persie glanced a corner wide of the post as Arsenal tried to respond, but it was Blackburn via another own goal who struck.
Olsson's pace destroyed Johan Djourou and he then nipped past Song and crossed - with Koscielny deflecting the ball into the empty net.
Robinson tipped over van Persie's header with 15 minutes left before Wenger threw caution to the wind, sending on Chamakh for Song.
The Rovers keeper again saved with his finger-tips from Van Persie, but with five minutes left on the clock the Gunners skipper produced a stunning cross and Chamakh out-jumped both centre-backs to plant a header in the top corner.There was a nervous end for Kean when Per Mertesacker had a clear header a few yards out in injury time but he sent the ball on to the roof of the net, while Robinson stood up well to beat away a powerful drive from Van Persie.
|Blackburn Rovers||Team Statistics||Arsenal|
|1||1st Half Goals||2|
|4||Shots on Target||9|
|3||Shots off Target||7|
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Ham United||38||47|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||38||44|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||38||30|