Arsenal a house of cards
Chris Samba and Gael Givet of Blackburn celebrate
BLACKBURN, England – Ayegbeni Yakubu scored twice to turn up the heat on Arsene Wenger as Blackburn twice came from behind to defeat Arsenal 4-3 at Ewood Park on Saturday.
Blackburn fans marched before kick-off demanding the removal of manager Steve Kean after a poor run of form.
But they were celebrating by the end as Blackburn leapfrogged Arsenal in the table after a Yakubu-inspired victory, the Nigerian striker unwanted by Everton but eager to prove he can still cut it at this level.
It leaves Arsenal with just four points from their opening five games and means Wenger’s side have now conceded 12 goals in the last two away games in the Premier League.
The defeat also exposed the frailty in Arsenal’s defence, which conceded two own goals during a pulsating contest
The Gunners had taken the lead on 10 minutes, Alex Song splitting the defence with a weighted pass to find Gervinho who rifled a low angled shot shot beyond Paul Robinson.
But despite dominating play Arsenal were unable to add to their lead and were rocked on 25 minutes when Yakubu conjured a goal out of nothing, picking up David Hoilett’s pass to finish beyond the advancing Wojciech Szczesny.
However Arsenal were back in front within nine minutes, when new signing Mikel Arteta opened his account for the club, sweeping in Aaron Ramsey’s cross with aplomb to put Arsenal 2-1 up.
Yet with the game under control, the defensive brittleness which has become Arsenal’s hallmark in recent seasons reared its head early in the second half.
There appeared to be little danger Ruben Rochina chipped in an innocuous free-kick from near the right-hand side of the penalty box, but Arsenal’s failure to clear cost them dear as Song diverted the ball into his own net.
Sensing Arsenal’s unease, Blackburn ramped up the pressure and on 59 minutes they took the lead after another setpiece.
A Hoilett corner found Steven Nzonzi at the far side of the area, and the Frenchman lashed a shot towards the six-yard box which was turned in by Yakubu for the Nigerian striker’s second of the match.
A wretched afternoon for Arsenal got even worse on 69 minutes when a swift counter-attack down the right saw Martin Olsson burst clear.
The Swedish international accelerated past Johan Djourou before beating Alex Song and cutting back into the six-yard area where Laurent Koscielny steered into his own net for the second own goal of the match.
Substitute Marouane Chamakh raised Arsenal’s hopes of a comeback when he headed in on 85 minutes as the Londoners laid siege to the Blackburn goal.
Robin Van Persie had a close-range effort well saved by Robinson while both Chamakh and Per Mertesacker should have hit the target with headed chances.
Theo Walcott might have had legitimate claims for a penalty when he was bundled over by Robinson, but Rovers were not to be denied their first win of the season.