Rovers gifted draw by Lehmann
Goalkeeping gaffe ensures a point apiece
Last Updated: 20/08/07 6:52am
Van Persie: Opening goal
Arsenal and Blackburn preserved their unbeaten records with a bruising 1-1 draw at Ewood Park.
The Gunners opened the scoring in the 18th minute when Robin van Persie fired home from close range after Brad Friedel spilled a weak effort from debutant Eduardo da Silva.
Blackburn came back strongly after half-time and were rewarded after 72 minutes when Jens Lehmann made his second howler of the season to let in David Dunn's powerful, but straight, shot from outside the area.
Ryan Nelsen was then sent off in the closing stages as both sides battled in vain for something more than a point.
Van Persie opener
Arsenal took the lead when Van Persie took advantage of some poor goalkeeping from the normally reliable Friedel, as he failed to deal with Eduardo's shot after Theo Walcott had headed the ball on.
Nelsen and Dunn both had chances to clear but failed to do so and Van Persie took advantage for his second goal of the season.
Arsenal looked strong but manager Arsene Wenger was forced to make a change in the 25th minute when William Gallas limped off to be replaced by Philippe Senderos.
Blackburn almost drew level in the 34th minute following a free-kick from David Bentley that concluded with Nelson hitting the post from close range.
The home side, though, were still looking vulnerable at the back and a mistake by Stephen Warnock let in Walcott, with Nelsen dragged out of position. Walcott was in two minds whether to shoot or cross and failed to trouble Friedel in the home goal.
Then Senderos delivered a goal-bound header a minute before the break, only to see Christopher Samba make the clearance.
Bentley then tried to curl a free-kick beyond Lehmann in the 53rd minute but his effort failed to trouble the goalkeeper.
A good spell by Blackburn followed and Roque Santa Cruz sent a header narrowly wide of the post in the 57th minute, following a free-kick from Bentley.
Matt Derbyshire almost equalised three minutes later, when he got on the end of a cross from Bentley but Kolo Toure made a vital interception.
There was controversy in the 62nd minute when Cesc Fabregas handled Samba's effort on the line but referee Alan Wiley awarded Arsenal a free-kick for an infringement.
Then came Lehmann's howler, which allowed Dunn to score his first goal in his second spell for the club.
However, a good afternoon's work was soured somewhat when they were reduced to ten men in the 83rd minute, as Nelsen picked up his second yellow card of the game for a challenge on Van Persie.
Arsenal, though, could not take advantage.
|Blackburn Rovers||Team Statistics||Arsenal|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|2||Shots on Target||2|
|9||Shots off Target||5|
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Ham United||34||37|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||33||33|