If you're a resident of the United States, you probably had to wake up at the crack of dawn to catch Arsenal play Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. If you did, they've made it well worth your while with an incredibly entertaining half of football. The Gunners lead 2-1 thanks to goals by Gervinho and Mikel Arteta, but Blackburn are actually looking fairly dangerous going forward and causing Arsenal some problems.
The Gunners took the lead early, with Gervinho scoring in the 8th minute. Alex Song was the architect, playing a fantastic ball for Gervinho to run onto in the box. Christopher Samba was a step slow and allowed Gervinho to get there easily. The Ivorian placed a shot between Samba's legs, past Paul Robinson at the back post for a goal.
Arsenal continued to look like the superior side after the goal, but were badly caught out in the 25th minute. David Hoilett, who has been Blackburn's best attacking threat by a mile, set up the goal with a great ball into the box for debutant Yakubu. Andre Santos kept the Yak onside with poor positioning, while Per Mertesacker was a step slow as Yakubu broke to the ball. He finished with a fantastic first touch to the far post with the side of his foot, leveling the match with a debut goal.
The Gunners would take back their lead in the 34th minute, and Song was the man behind the goal once again. He started the move with a great ball down the right for Aaron Ramsey, who cut the ball back across the box for Mikel Arteta, who was arriving to the top of the penalty area. He finished well with a great shot into the roof of the net, but Blackburn's defending on the goal was laughable.
Both teams have some serious problems that need to be dealt with, despite the entertaining first half display. Arsenal are really going to have to sort out their defense, as both Santos and Mertesacker should have done much better on Yakubu's goal. They've also been terrible at marking on set pieces, but they've been lucky in that respect. Samba's heading on set pieces has been absolutely atrocious, which is hard to comprehend. Additionally, Blackburn winger David Hoilett is completely uninterested in defending, and this has allowed Arsenal to completely dominate their right hand side.
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