Arsenal were held to a 0-0 draw at home against Blackburn Rovers today despite the visitors being down to ten men for the last fifteen minutes of the match. The two dropped points may well have handed the title to Manchester United, who now have what appears to be an insurmountable lead at the top of the table after draws by both Arsenal and Chelsea today.
Although the Gunners spent the last ten minutes shelling Paul Robinson's goal, had they emerged from the Emirates with a win it would have been rather massively undeserved. Blackburn were the better side for much of the first half, and although Cesc Fabregas' introduction as a second half substituted shifted the balance somewhat, Steve Kean's team defended brilliantly and looked more than good money for their clean sheet.
Steven Nzonzi's entirely undeserved dismissal changed things up somewhat, the midfielder being shown a straight red after a stumbling challenge on Laurent Koscielny that was more stumbling than malicious. Phil Dowd was having none of the protests, however, reducing Rovers to ten men and allowing the home side their first spell of sustained pressure since the very beginning of the match.
There were several near misses in the last fifteen minutes - none closer than Marouane Chamakh's shot from a perfect Jack Wilshere cutback, which was well blocked by a sliding Martin Olsson, but in the end Arsenal simply could not capitalise on their good fortune and after four minutes of injury time left the pitch knowing that the title race was all but over.
On top of the result, the Gunners sustained several injuries. Samir Nasri played through a huge cut to his temple that forced the Frenchman into wearing a bandage for much of the match, and Alex Song was left limping for the last few minutes by a bad landing that jarred his knee. Theo Walcott was also seen icing an ankle after he was substituted in the second half. All in all, a rough day for Arsene Wenger - but a magnificent performance by Blackburn, who managed to hold off their opposition without resorting to simply parking the bus. A well earned draw for Rovers.