Gilberto was wrongfully sent off after an altercation with Robbie Savage to reduce Arsenal to 10 men with just 13 minutes gone. Two yellows were in order but the Gunners vice-captain was shown the red by Rob Styles and it looked like this wasn’t going to be Arsenal’s day. Blackburn should’ve taken the lead early on when Matt Derbyshire overcame Justin Hoyte’s token defense and had a free header from two yards out. Lucky for the Gunners he’s not very good.
On 35 minutes Robin van Persie had a clear path to the goal when he was brought down but Styles chose to keep the cards in his pocket. On the ensuing free-kick by Henry, Toure snuck in for a header that hit the post and bounced in. 1-0 to The Arsenal. A deserved lead and much sweet justice was served when Toure scored since Arsenal were on the short end of the stick all night when it came to the referees.
In the second half, Blackburn’s best chance came when our man Matt Derbyshire was setup perfectly by Pederson on a long-cross in and all that required to be done was supply a strong foot to the ball. Derbyshire managed to bungle it up and hit it 5 yards wide. At this point I really started to like Derbyshire. Blackburn looked threatening at times but it was Arsenal’s counter-attack that produced Thierry Henry’s great run on the left side which eluded three defenders and a give-and-go with Fabregas later, fired one which Brad Friedel only managed to get a touch on. 2-0, game over. Henry should’ve scored again when he found himself alone in front of the net but fired it high. He and I couldn’t believe it.
The Great Man was taken out to a huge applause from the travelling fans and Adebayor, who hasn’t seen any action in more than a week, was brought on. Blackburn were given a great opportunity by Rob Styles when Gilberto was sent off, but strong Arsenal defending coupled with misses by Derbyshire was enough to see the Gunners through.
Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool all won so Arsenal didn’t rise in the table but the game was a huge confidence boost as a 10-man Arsenal team that showed their mantle at a hostile Ewood Park.
Here’s a nice little highlight package from YouTube including the goals and the red card: