Blackpool 1-3 Arsenal: Jens returns. Duck broken. Coincidence? Probably.

Blackpool 1-3 Arsenal: Jens returns. Duck broken. Coincidence? Probably.

I’m writing the report for this game super early this time, partly to make up for the lateness of last week’s post and partly because I’m just so bloody excited we managed to win!

Our boys scored three of the sort of goals that only a team like Blackpool will concede to secure a 3-1 win at Bloomfield Road and pull Manchester United’s lead at the top of the table back to seven points.

Diaby "celebrates" his goal

Abou Diaby (seriously!) opened the scoring a quarter of an hour into the game, Emmanuel Eboué (seriously!) added a second a few minutes later and despite Blackpool putting up a valiant second-half fight and pulling a goal back, Robin van Persie sealed the deal with our third with 15 minutes to go.

It is probably worth mentioning at this juncture that Jens Lehmann started in goals today. That’s right, 41-year-old Jens Lehmann. Given that I was watching a stream with Spanish commentary and Manuel Almunia looked rather grumpier than usual (which is saying something for him), I was under the impression that the Spaniard had been dropped to accommodate the psychopathic German. But I now know, as of course you already do, that Almunia twinged his knee in warm-up, opening the door for Lehmann to make a first appearance since his shock return.

Rather miraculously, he oozed confidence throughout the game in a performance that turned back the years. He was vocal, made a number of lovely interventions and even had the cheek to attempt an almost perfect re-enactment of his sending off in the Champions League final for the Blackpool goal. Now I think about it, had Lee Mason sent him off rather than playing the advantage I can only imagine who would have donned the gloves as a replacement. Squillaci? Ramsey? Eboue???

The home side had the better of it early on, forcing a number of corners and refusing to let us out of their half for the opening five minutes, but we soon found our groove. Cesc took control in the middle of the pitch, creating a hatful of chances for the front three of Arshavin, van Persie and Nasri, yet it was Diaby who eventually broke the deadlock. Dancing dangerously around a couple of challenges in typical Bambi style in his own third, Diaby powered forward to put the finishing touch on a sweeping counter-attack that also involved Fabregas and van Persie.

With the pressure released Eboué got in on the action a couple of minutes later, exchanging passes with Jack Wilshere before hammering a shot in with his left foot. Watching the replay again it looks like Kingson in goals tried to jump out of the way of Eboué’s shot rather than block it. Baring in mind the pace on the ball though, I can hardly blame him.

The remainder of the first half was a Grade A demonstration of how not to put a game to bed. Van Persie couldn’t knock one of his many chances in, Nasri had shots saved and hit the post and Diaby Bambi’d with the goal gaping. It was always going to come back to bite us and when Blackpool re-emerged from the dressing rooms with fresh intensity and grabbed an early goal, things became very nerve-wracking indeed.

With the game (and our title challenge) on a knife edge Koscielny was fortunate to avoid his twenty-sixth penalty concession of the season while a close-range header flew just wide. The danger from Blackpool’s point of view, and the hope from ours, was that their relentless attacking onslaught would once again leave them susceptible to the counter-attack. That was s exactly what happened.

Jens reenacts his Barcelona sending-off

Diaby did his best Gäel Clichy impression by trying to start an attack from close to our own corner flag but miraculously, it paid off. He raced away from his pursuer, curved a lofted pass towards Cesc who, in one glorious touch, flicked the ball into space for the speedy surprise substitute, Theo “The Flash” Walcott. Theo zipped onto the pass, squared it for van Persie and just like that the game was over.

Aside from Clichy losing the ball thirty yards out from goal and forcing Lehmann to make his best save of the afternoon, Blackpool rarely threatened after going two-down for the second time that afternoon. Neither did we though and the score finished 3-1.

I get the feeling that in Arsene Wenger’s perfect world every “little” team in the Premier League would play football as attacking and carefree as Blackpool because it would probably see us win the title. The men in orange deserve a lot of admiration for the way they approach the game — and were at it again today, particularly in the second half — yet their dedication to attack left them hopelessly open at the back at times.

We were clearly not at our best in this encounter but with the title well and truly on the line we got the result we required. From a fan and perhaps player perspective too, it was great to return to winning ways. It has been well-documented that the last time we had won was against Leyton Orient in early March. Thankfully that horrible duck has been broken now.

The team looked refreshed with a fit Fabregas pulling the strings, although few sides will give him as much time and space to pick passes as Blackpool did. I thought Diaby impressed with his attacking intent, as did Nasri on the right and Squillaci at the back. Lehmann, of course, deserves huge praise for such a composed performance under the circumstances. I thought Koscielny lacked composure at critical moments (hopefully Djourou’s imminent return will calm him down), Eboué and Clichy were jittery under pressure and Arshavin and van Persie were below their high standards.

Nevertheless, a win is a win is a win. And we won. So get in there!

Spread your love around after the win over Blackpool by leaving a comment.

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25 Responses to “Blackpool 1-3 Arsenal: Jens returns. Duck broken. Coincidence? Probably.”

  1. Luxinho
    April 10, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

    Nice prompt write up Andy…

    To answer you question regarding the goal keeper situation if Mad Jens had seen red…RvP was quoted on the BBC as saying it would have been him (I dont believe it but that would have made for a very interesting game!)

    We got one over Utd today in more ways than one….What with Mad Jens accidentally on purpose injuring Almunia in the warm up (I jest of course.) He became the oldest foreign player to play in the Premiership…..taking the accolade of Van der Sar….who had set the record last time he played! Well done you crazy old German!!

    Anyway…Finally a win and a MOTD worth watching…we need to play better in the future and the next three games (four if you want to risk including the Utd game) will decide this title I fear…Liverpool on Sunday, Spurs on the Weds and then Bolton following that…If we win the three I am very confident that we will be sitting in first place….Its unlike me to be optimistic but Im in a good mood today!!

    Also ….do you think Arshavins time is up…..I know he has flashes of brilliance but surely a fit Theo is going to keep him out of the starting line up in future…..??

  2. Darragh
    April 11, 2011 at 1:56 am #

    Credit to blackpool – they really gave a go at it in the second half and unlucky not to equalise. Our defence looked shoddy on many occasions. Clichy, who played fairly well most of the game, almost got caught out. Game should have been well finished in the first half, but some poor decision making in front of goal meant Blackpool were always in with a chance.

    While Blackpool lost, I really hope they don’t go down. They play some nice football for a ‘little’ team (so to speak) and I really like Ian Holloway. I’m hoping Blackpool and Wolves stay up – though the chances of that happening may be slim.

  3. sugianto
    April 11, 2011 at 3:39 am #

    do you notice that Wilshere become tacking target more and more these days ?

  4. ArseMagica
    April 11, 2011 at 4:07 am #

    Lovely flip pass by Cesc on that last goal. COYG!

  5. leftcoastgooner
    April 11, 2011 at 4:22 am #

    Wowsers Quick post up AW taken by surprise.
    No coincidence with Jens. He is a winner period. The lads are afraid to be afraid aound him as well they should. And didn’t our French left back get a German ear full. I bet he almost forgot about that. Won’t happen again. I thought Eboue looked pretty good for a guy who hasn’t played much recently. Young Master Jack is who I’m worried about. I hope Alex can come back in the side and give the lad a well needed and deserved rest. No U21 this summer, the boy should be grounded Land Rover or no.
    By the way I was listening to the audio cast at Arsenal.com while watching on TV and the word was that if Jens was injuried or sent off the goalie would be none other than Robin Van Persie.
    Now if you think Jens is scarey imagine Robin between the post.
    Who will be in for Liverpool Jens, Moon-man or will the big Polish kid whos name I cannot spell be back in time?

  6. hazmi
    April 11, 2011 at 6:22 am #

    Congratulation!!! finally we are at the winning note. We should have a better result by looking at the way we play. As usual AW game plan can be read . We should have score more goals. At this juncture goal difference also count. We cannot be too comfort.
    For Jens – Welcome back. We need somebody psycho than the soft we hv now.
    Once a Gunners always will be one.

    GO GUNNERS!!!!!!!!!

  7. Sobin the indian gooner
    April 11, 2011 at 6:27 am #

    A good win,now onwards we have to keep going. Well done jens.

  8. Darragh
    April 11, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    Would caution the use of Jens instead of Almunia. Despite Arsenal winning yesterday, he looked less sharp than a usual top class keeper.

    Notice how he rarely threw out far, preferring to lay off to the wing backs?

  9. Zarrshavin
    April 11, 2011 at 7:59 am #

    Well in my opinion, I think wenger FINALLY said to his players, “each and every one of you is playing for your jobs”, so that explains the diaby and eboue goals, and why they ddnt celebrate their respective goals.

    As for arshavins time being up, I think its true that a fit walcott will always come first chpoice compared to him, but he is what I would call, I ‘fitting’ replacement if ever walcott is unavailable(knock on wood) just like eboue is a perfect replacement for sagna.

  10. rehan siddiqui
    April 11, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    Three points are welcome yet it was a below par performance against a team battling for survival. defence again was exposed and it was time for gibbs be given chance and clichy. dropped for good. spurs, liverpool and man u will punish this brittle defence. the forwards are lightweight and arshawin be shown the door and instead chamak or bend be given chance in coming matches.

  11. Steviej
    April 11, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    Just driving into work this morning.
    Talksport Radio reporting that Stan Kronke has agreed takeover price for shares, taking his holding to 60%+
    Not sure of exact details yet.

  12. Steviej
    April 11, 2011 at 9:34 am #

    Stan Kroenke has taken his shareholding in Arsenal to 62.89%.
    This is above the stock market requirement of 62% which could see a complete takeover.
    This seems to be the preferred direction according to early reactions from Arsene and Mr. Hill Wood, who obviously didn’t want the Russian to takeover.

  13. Shard
    April 11, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    @Steviej
    Correction: Crossing the 30% threshold means that Kroenke will have to compulsorily make an offer for all shares. The board in this case have recommended the offer be accepted. But still, shareholders are under no compulsion to do so. That happens only once the 90% threshold is crossed.

  14. Shard
    April 11, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    Regarding the game itself, I agree with Zarrshavin that the players were under pressure and determined to perform, and that they didn’t celebrate their goals showed that. I don’t know if Wenger told them they were fighting for their futures, or if it was just that they felt they needed to respond. In either case, long may that sort of attitude continue.

    I thought on the whole we had a good game, though we did get lucky with a penalty call. I still feel though that there was a foul on Van Persie in the penalty box right at the end of the first half, but Sky in all their wisdom decided that it didn’t warrant a replay. Anyway, as Andrew says, a win is a win is a win.. 3 points in the bag.. Huge challenges to follow. I hope the result acts as a confidence boost and we’re up for Liverpool on Sunday. If we are, I think we should win.

    Oh, and I wouldn’t sell Arshavin.. He may not be first choice, but we play enough games, and he is a player with a certain spark. Too many changes lead to instability, and while I think he can do better, he has justified his place in the squad in my view.

  15. theicehammer
    April 11, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    Change is needed at this club, Wenger needs to go upstairs, a better balance of skill and strength is needed, to many weak players lacking strength to last the pase of the season. The club will soon be taken over with David Dean returning to get things moving in the correct direction. Arsenal needs someone who will be accountable to the fans. There is change in the wind cause 6 years is far to long.

  16. Shard
    April 11, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

    @theicehammer

    Who said anything about David Dein? He might, but he equally might not be back.As for change.. The ownership structure does look set to change (which I’m not happy about) But the probable new owner has pretty much backed the current policy and the manager.. So I doubt the winds of change will be blowing as strongly as you seem to think.

  17. Andrew Weber
    April 11, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

    @ theicehammer – I’d really rather refrain from talking about change until the end of the season. We have a title to fight for and it’s just boring. I know you follow both The Hammers and Arsenal, mostly because of the youth setup, but I’d just like to avoid this for now.

  18. de veerman
    April 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    well done jens and i know you still love you team,arsenal and wiil do you best to make things work.

  19. theusualsuspect
    April 11, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    I thought Lehmann played well, making a great save with his leg on the line which Fabregas eventually cleared. I was gutted for him when Blackpool scored – it would have been great for him to be the first premier league keeper to keep a clean sheet at Blackpool this season, at the age of 41 being the oldest Arsenal player in the Premier League. You knew when he signed that he’d play at least once. I loved the fact that he said after the game that he didn’t care if he played again – he played yesterday we won and that was that, he’d done his job. Fantastic attitude and I really hope he helps fire the team forward in the dressing room. Crazy Jens taking his gloves off to tie up his shoelace early on when Arsenal were under pressure and Blackpool were about to take a corner was fantastic. The man literally knows everything on how to disrupt the other team, and he’s playing in goal.

  20. zarrshavin
    April 11, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    I think its because of kroenkes takeover that diaby and eboue shined, they know that kroenke will sell a few platers and buy better ones so they gave him a reason not to sell them.

  21. leftcoastgooner
    April 12, 2011 at 12:34 am #

    @Chicken man
    Hey emmanuel this is a blog for supporters of The Arsenal football club.
    With all due civility and respect that participating at this site demands perhaps you might stuff those chickens with yourself
    or visa versa.
    Left over gooner,
    Santa Cruz, California,US of A

  22. JJ Pittman
    April 12, 2011 at 2:06 am #

    First of all, let’s hope that all Arsenal supporters will remain “loyal to the sweater” as we say in ice hockey. Although we dropped another 2 points to Blackburn, we are still in with a chance. From Sunday to next Wednesday, we will make up our game in hand. We must defeat a revitalized Scouse team at home and beat Spuds there, while ManUre go to Geordieland. If we don’t, then it will be time to start talking about next year.
    The last thing we need is more distraction. I thought Mad Jens was amazingly calm and we deserved the win. Liverpool stomped Man$hitty today, but we can beat them at home with full-throated support. Spuds can also be had. C’mon you Gooners!

  23. Ianinja
    April 12, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    No offence to you Icehammer but you are sounding more and more like a troll, not a funny one in fact. You come here regardless of whether Arsenal wins or losses. Seems like you’re here to incite hatred amongst the Arsenal faithful.

    You claim your boy is in the youth setup but the way you behave makes your claim highly unlikely. It may be assumption on my part but please try to not repeat all the tabloid musings in the commentary, it’s old and getting boring really fast. Would you like it if I went to an Hammer’s forum and started throwing stones around.

    You can ignore/slate all my comments but at least have a respect to the author of this blog, or at least try to be funny.

  24. Shard
    April 12, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    I just thought that I’d add evidence to my earlier comment about Van Persie being fouled in the box at the end of the first half, and Sky playing their usual dirty tricks by not showing a replay of it.

    http://www.zshare.net/video/8888819166c219e4/

  25. C
    April 15, 2011 at 3:15 am #

    LEHMAN AND SZCESNY SHOULD BE THE ARSENAL KEEPERS

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