Arsenal 1 Blackburn 3
Blackburn cashed in on a nightmare afternoon for Arsenal skipper Tony Adams to
come back from a goal down and climb to second place in the Premiership.
Dutch winger Marc Overmars put the Gunners in front after just 18 minutes with
a delightful lob over goalkeeper Tim Flowers from Emmanuel Petit's through
But Adams, twice rescued by fellow defender Martin Keown after bad errors in
the first half, was finally punished at the double in nine catastrophic minutes
after the break.
His blunders gifted the equaliser to Jason Wilcox and then the lead, produced
by Kevin Gallacher's fine shot which the visitors were never to relinquish.
Indeed, they went on to add a third goal right at the end when skipper TimSherwood beat goalkeeper David Seaman at the second attempt.
And there was one
final twist into Arsenal's aching heart when striker Ian Wright was booked for a
shocking challenge on Stephane Henchoz which means he will be out for two
matches after Christmas - the local derby against Tottenham and the FA Cup tie
with Port Vale.
Acrimonious rivals were soon knocking lumps off each other in a battle to cling
on to the coat-tails of Premiership leaders Manchester United.
Blackburn striker Chris Sutton played throughout with the jeers of the
Highbury crowd ringing in his ears as a reminder of last season's corresponding
clash when he was accused of gamesmanship to grab a controversial point for
But in a game of eight bookings, Sutton had the last laugh as he and his team
destroyed Arsenal on the counter-attack to produce the Gunners second
consecutive home defeat in a match that was always an unedifying spectacle.
Petty feuds were apparent all over the pitch but out of the scramble finally
came a superb piece of skill by Overmars who lofted in his fifth goal of the
And the hyperactive Wright should have made it two soon after the break when
he fired straight at goalkeeper Flowers after a brilliant link-up between Dennis
Bergkamp and Overmars.
But Arsenal were always rocky in defence despite a giant effort by Keown to
repair the cracks that seemed to appear by the minute.
Even he, however, could do nothing about it when Adams hesitated to allow
Stuart Ripley space and time to cross low for Sutton who edged the ball on into
the path of Jason Wilcox to score as he liked.
Keown had come to Adams' rescue just before the break when a brilliant tackle
robbed Gallacher just 10 yards out after Adams' pass-back blunder.
But the Gunners captain was at fault again when Blackburn took the lead on 66
minutes. He was slow going for a long kick out by Flowers which Sutton headed on
and Gallacher pounced to hit a blistering drive into the top corner.
Arsenal's frustration was blatantly apparent after Bergkamp was wrestled down
in the box by Gary Croft and then minutes later drove a shot which Jeff Kenna
clearly handled only for referee Gary Willard to turn down confident penalty
appeals on both occasions.
Arsenal were finally put out of their misery following another Keown clearance
off the line and a Sherwood header against the bar with the goal gaping.
Substitute Gary Flitcroft's through ball sent Sherwood bearing down on goal
again in stoppage time and although Seaman bravely parried his first attempt,
Sherwood latched on to the rebound and cracked it home.
Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Winterburn, Adams, Keown, Overmars,
Petit, Platt (Boa Morte 76), Parlour (Vieira 65), Wright,
Subs Not Used: Bould, Manninger, Anelka.
Booked: Parlour, Adams, Bergkamp.
Goals: Overmars 18.
Blackburn: Flowers, Kenna, Sherwood, Hendry,
Ripley (Flitcroft 68), Gallacher, Sutton, Wilcox, McKinlay,
Subs Not Used: Pedersen, Andersson, Valery, Fettis.
Booked: Kenna, Croft, McKinlay, Hendry.
Goals: Wilcox 57, Gallacher 65, Sherwood 89.
Ref: G S Willard (Worthing).