Ewood Park – Undone At The Back – Again

Monday evening’s disappointment at Ewood Park, losing 2-1 to Sam Allardyce’s Blackburn Rovers could stand as a metaphor for our season – undone defensively and in goal once again.
Lukasz Fabiański was at fault for both Rovers’ goals. Some irate Gooner has gone into the Pole’s Wikipedia entry and changed his name to Lukasz Flapiański, cruel but accurate I’m afraid. Any lingering doubt about his ability to ascend to the regular slot in goal at Arsenal must have been removed, certainly for next season and probably forever. At his age Fabiański should be starting to mature as a goalie. I don’t imagine for a moment that Arsčne Wenger will listen to me but I’d pick Vito Mannone in goal for our final game against Fulham which we now need to win to be absolutely sure of third spot.
Our goal difference is eleven better than Spurs and nine better than Citeh’s so a point against Fulham would probably do. Given what’s gone on this season though I’d rather a win and not having to worry about goal difference. Fulham of course have bigger fish to fry than their game against us on Sunday as they look forward to their Europa League Final in Hamburg against Atlético Madrid today fortnight.
There is a report out there in cyber-space that Arsčne Wenger has verbally agreed a two year extension on his contract, which is currently due to expire in 2011. I’ve no idea if there’s any substance to it (the report quotes his currently salary as “around £5 million a year”, saying he’ll get a rise in return for agreeing to an extension to summer 2013, meaning he’d be in the managerial chair at the Grove for a further three seasons). I tend to write it off as further “transfer speculation”. I’ll wait for official announcements.
On a positive note it was good to see Kieran Gibbs and Johan Djourou back on the bench at Ewood Park. Congratulations too to 18 year old Arsenal academy midfielder Conor Henderson for being selected as a substitute for this game. I don’t imagine there was ever much chance of him coming on other than at the end if we had been comfortably ahead, but it must have been great for the lad to have been selected. Pity he didn’t come home with a win bonus – that would have really made the young man smile!
Unfortunately the Arsenal women’s team lost out on their chance for yet another League and Cup Double, losing the FA Women’s Cup Final 3-2 to Everton after extra time at the City Ground, Nottingham on Monday. The succession of missed chances for the Gunnerettes was reminiscent of the first team’s affliction of not turning possession and chances into goals. They’re still in the hunt for yet another League title however.
Now it’s all about three points on Sunday to secure third place. It tends to be a difficult season following World Cup years for top clubs like Arsenal who have a lot of players heading to the tournament. Since we lifted the foreign player ban here in England & Wales in 1978/9 following the 1978 World Cup in Argentina we’ve had more and more of our players involved in world football’s quadrennial summit meeting, especially in the last three tournaments in France, Japan/Korea and Germany. After none of them have we managed to win a trophy. Let’s hope we can break that particular spell next season.
Meanwhile let’s concentrate on extracting three points from Fulham on Sunday before wishing them God speed and good luck in the Europa League Final.
Keep the faith!

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know