Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Arsenal: the new Blackburn

Well, kind of.

Arsenal showed the world in the English FA Cup final on the weekend at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff exactly how Blackburn Rovers' tactics are supposed to be played.

Rovers, who took a media barrage after their FA Cup semi-final encounter against the Gunners for their defensive and aggressive pressing style of play, were copied by an unashamed manager and employed by Arsene Wenger’s team throughout the whole encounter.

The match, of course, ended in the first FA Cup final ever to be decided in a penalty shoot-out after 120 minutes of shooting mediocrity, with Arsenal defeating a dominant Manchester United.

Arsenal managed just one shot on target throughout the whole 120 minutes, while United kept hammering away, attempting to score on more than 20 attempts, most of the time missing unspectacularly, and when they did get on target, goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was almost always behind the ball in a solid performance.

Perhaps when devising his tactics with the absence of star centre forward Thierry Henry, manager Arsene Wenger was banking on Rovers' latest result at Old Trafford, where the Lancashire team lasted 90 minutes of a United barrage at goal, while playing the defensive 4 - 5 - 1 formation, especially because Arsenal had already lost twice to Manchester United for the season 2004/2005.

Arsenal's version of the 4 - 5 - 1 formation certainly was similar, because the Londoners looked good at the back and in midfield, but were very underdone in the final third where Denis Bergkamp was well-beaten and looked very much like Paul Dickov: unable to hold up the ball and bring the midfielders into attack.

They were certainly very aggressive too, and were much dirtier than any Rovers team, with Jose Antonio Reyes actually being sent off, which was not the case in the semi-final, so all credit must go to Arsenal for founding this new revelation, rather than the much-hated town club in the north of England.

Really, compare the media's reaction to Blackburn's red card-free semi-final performance compared to Arsenal's red card-savvy performance, and you can really see just how biased the media is against town clubs like Blackburn, because the Gunners produced a dirty performance that would have an unbiased Roy Keane standing up in applause.

Replace "Jose Antonio Reyes" with the name "Andy Todd" and see what sort of reaction you would get in the media, and to save you the trouble of imagining such a scenario, I tell you right now that the media would have a carnival of berating reports and righteous moral spillages to feed us, the hungry readers.

But hey, I am not all that bitter (really, I'm not!), and Arsenal did show us just where a Blackburn-style renaissance can lead you--to an FA Cup victory.

20 Comments:

At Monday, May 23, 2005 9:01:00 pm, Blogger Simon said...

Hahaha!

A taste of your own medicine mate!

Man U have employed the same tactics on us, many times - notably, last years semi final.

 
At Monday, May 23, 2005 9:10:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cristiano Ronaldo faked injury and fell cheaply to get Reyes sent off. How does that fit into your "aggressive tactics" when Reyes didn't even touch his face, aimed no elbow and made no attempt to knock Ronaldo's kneecap off?

 
At Monday, May 23, 2005 9:10:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WE ARE VERY SOUR INDEED !!! WE DID NOT PLAY A DEFENSIVE GAME IT'S JUST UNITED FORCED US BACK, AS THEY HAD MORE ATTACKING OPTIONS, AND PLAYED VERY WELL.

UNITEDS FORMATION WAS ALSO 5-4-1 AS WELL. WE NEEDED A PROPER CENTRE FORWARD, AND RUNNERS FROM MIDFIELD AND OUR SYSTEM DID NOT WORK, AS THE PLAYERS WERE NOT AVAILIBLE.

IF WE HAD A FULLY FIT LJUNGBERG AND A FIT HENRY IT WOULD HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT MATE !!!! YOUR COMMENT "REYES" SEE ANDY TODD, WHAT ABOUT SCHOLES HE GOT AWAY WITH ENOUGH DID'NT HE ????

IT WAS JUST ONE OF THOSE GAMES, WE WERE MUGGED BY MICHAEL OWEN 4 YEARS AGO, WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND, THESE THINGS HAPPEN !

YOU SHOULD COMPLAIN THAT FOR ALL THE MONEY SPENT ON YOUR 4 FORWARDS
THEY CANNOT FINISH !!!! YOU STILL HAVE TO RESORT PLAYING A HALF FIT VAN NISTLEROOY, THAN THE 2 FULLY FIT ON YOUR BENCH, AND NOT USE THEM !!!!! GOOD BUSINESS !!!!

MAYBE NEXT YEAR !!!!

 
At Monday, May 23, 2005 9:18:00 pm, Anonymous Rob Styles said...

Arsenal were so lucky on Saturday but who cares? Were United bothered when they robbed Bayern in 1999? The fact is Ferguson was happy to rob Arsenal at Old Trafford this season when smackhead Rio and Horseface should have walked in first half.But then they had Riley to assist them. The Final was a case of what comes around goes around. It made my day to see all the United faces and Ferguson's at the end, Justice was done on Saturday.

 
At Monday, May 23, 2005 9:19:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said.

 
At Monday, May 23, 2005 9:28:00 pm, Anonymous Punky Medows said...

Ok.. now lets see Blackburn play like Arsenal did against Everton or Liverpool... ready... GO!

 
At Monday, May 23, 2005 9:32:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never read such rubbish. I mean, really. I can't remember such a bitter and pathetic reaction to losing a football match. We beat you fair and square.
Your tactics against us in the past have been criminal. And I notice you ignored the elbow from Fortune. I remember the Mancs throwing a hissy fit when Campbell committed a much lesser offense.

As for Rio and Ronaldo. "Cry on the telly.. We've seen you cry on the telly..".

 
At Monday, May 23, 2005 9:53:00 pm, Blogger James No. 7 said...

I'm a Blackburn Rovers supporter, in case anyone was wondering... NOT a spoilt Manchester United fan. ;)

 
At Monday, May 23, 2005 9:57:00 pm, Blogger James No. 7 said...

And to add to that, in case anyone was wondering, I did not care as to who won the match, although after the semi-final I did say I was going to hope for United to win, since I was a little angry and my better judgement was clouded), but that soon changed.

No, the point of my article is to not bag Arsenal in favour of Manchester United, but rather my point was to expose the hypocrisy of the media, and to show that there is some merit to Rovers' style of play.

 
At Monday, May 23, 2005 11:02:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Todd's elbow was pathetic and Robby Savage is a freak; you are only partly right to blame the media (and Moanrinho) for Blackburn's image. I do think thought that the media have treated blackburn with less respect than big teams. You now have to earn it back. But you aren't going to convince many neutrals writing bad satire.

Somewhat different point on blackburn's tactics: Arsenal owe both blackburn and bolton a nod for their cup win. Arsenal standing firm in the face of those clubs' cynical, physical tactics and winning out in the end probably contributed to arsenal's mental strength on Saturday. Arsenal are showing a new toughness that will keep them in the top 3 for several more years at least. Being underdogs suits them. They will sit and wait for Chelsea's (hopeful) blip next year and pounce.

 
At Monday, May 23, 2005 11:08:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've read a couple of these blogs now No.7, and they are always well written and usually quite fair.

Everything that you have said here was clear on the actual day. With respect to some of the earlier responses, this blog does not try to incriminate or display bitterness, but merely points out that whether Aresnal intended to play defensively or were forceed into it by "Man U having better options" this is indeed what happened. In fact, didn't they have less attempts in the final than Blackburn did in their semifinal.

Whatever - the point that i believe you are making is that the press have been happy to glorify the "big club", as opposed to the lashing that Blackburn got the next day.

Keep writing them James, Rovers have played as underdogs, and the final merely showed me that no matter what team you are, you occasionally have to resort to those employed by Blackburn previously, and by Arsenal on Saturday.

 
At Tuesday, May 24, 2005 1:06:00 am, Blogger weenie said...

James, you're right. The media has its football darlings and Rovers aint one of them unfortunately. I bet had Blackburn achieved the same as what Chelsea have accomplished this season (ie Premier title and Carling Cup), the media still wouldn't be queueing to interview Mark Hughes, they'd prefer some crappy little nonsensical quip from Mourihno.
As for the FA Cup final - it was kinda satisfying to see United outplay the Gooners and still lose it in the end. I'm not bitter, honest! :)

 
At Tuesday, May 24, 2005 1:12:00 am, Anonymous deftangel said...

How predictable that the hordes of Man Utd and Gooner fans are so quick to jump down your throat without actually considering who you support! How could anyone NOT support Man Utd or Arsenal, after all.

That and a well written article sums up the big club bias perfectly.

 
At Tuesday, May 24, 2005 2:36:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very very true, the very fact that Arsenal stand top of the FA Premier League fair play table also shows that referees as well as the media are biased towards the big clubs

 
At Tuesday, May 24, 2005 8:06:00 am, Anonymous Matthew Holden- Blackburn said...

The Whole situation with the whole Blackburn dirty and bully boys tag has been drawn up by a load of Southern, Ponsy, Stuck up London based Journalists who have nothing better to do than slate any northern team Blackburn who give bite to the array of forgein faking, diving and cheating scum bags in this league. Just because they can't handle a bit of muscle and challenges that a player of Patrick Viera's size can fall over at a slightest push and roll over several times like he has been hunted down by a group of fox hunters ( sorry Leicester we did that to you)

I think we should have regional journalists report on our matches from now on the nationals are against us, the BBC is against us and now the whole of the Premier League is against us for no reason other than you London based flussies

 
At Tuesday, May 24, 2005 2:05:00 pm, Blogger Rhys25 said...

Firstly, we can't narrow this to the southern press, nor can we single out football or even sport in general. The media is very good at manipulating the public and they do it in all aspects of life on a regular basis. They are interested in selling papers and a good story has a hero and a villain. I imagine the big wigs from all the major tabloids where licking their lips when Hughes reacted to Murhino's comments. In a way Hughes escalated this himself by referring back to Murinho's comments on so many occasions.
So why are Blackburn the villains? An all out sustained attack, similar to the that aimed at Blackburn this season would never happen to a larger club simply because more fans means more newspaper sales. It makes no odds where your club is from, if your's has the smaller fan base, your team will have to work twice as hard to make a positive headline.
Everyone loves to hate a team and that in itself sells newspapers, personally I can't stand Chelsea and I love to read the articles about there blatant disrespect for the rules and general bad behaviour, but where is the media tirade? It never materialised, as the press have too much to lose by attacking the big clubs, instead they try to glorify their season's achievements. When Blackburn won the Premiership through the financial input of local born hero Jack Walker, it was commonly referred to by the press as 'buying the Premiership'. But when Chelsea win the title through an unlimited bankroll from some previously unknown Russian, it's as though they have defied all the odds and Murinho is some kind of master tactician - draw your own conclusion.

Just one final note, I would like to say that the media focus on Blackburn's tough approach will have moved on to the next big story, but I am fearful of recent signings and the type of players Rovers are being linked with during the transfer window. A team which has well hated players such as Savage, Dickov, Neil, Flitcroft and Todd really shouldn't be considering acquiring the services of the likes of Bellamy and Danny Mills - this can only drag us further into the media mire!

Great article No7, keep it up!

 
At Tuesday, May 24, 2005 6:09:00 pm, Anonymous RobLong said...

As a Blackburn fan, I can honestly say that we have not been pretty to watch. However, When you play 6 the of the top 7 teams in the league in the space of 6 (league games...leicester in the FA cup was thrown in there...), if we had played nice to watch football we would have been anialated in possibly 4 of those games (chelsea, arsenal, man utd, middlesbrough). However, deploying such defensive, hussling tactics, granted we lost 3 of the six games, but not by the margin many pundits would have predicted. We should have had a point against Chelsea, but it was a bleeding good penalty save. Arsenal looked almost mediocre against us. Middlesbrough always beat us! But beating a strong Everton team (who play similar tactics, and praised for it!), a draw against liverpool and man utd (yes we did ride our luck a little in the latter of those games) we surprised many people, and it kept us safe.

No one mentioned the 3-0 win against Norwich, or the 3-0 win against Southampton. Our last few games, we peterred out, which is a shame for the fans. But we have survived, and on we go. Another season in the Premiership.

If we had the players/money to buy players of a flair quality of this world, I am sure Mark Hughes would buy such. However, we do not have the glamour or the resources to attract such players. Granted, we are one of only four clubs to win the Premiership title, but we can't live of past glories. We are not Tottenham, or Newcastle. We have to live in the now. and as the now is scrapping to save us from relegation, thats the way we have to play. I have to say I have to agree with rhys25, that if we buy Bellamy or Danny Mills, we will be the most hated team in the Premiership

As for Andy Todd's 'elbow' in the semi final. HE WAS CLEARED!!! The referee didnt see anything wrong, the FA panel didnt see anything wrong, so all you soft southern nancies, stop moaning!!!

 
At Wednesday, May 25, 2005 8:50:00 pm, Anonymous roversmum said...

I can't see why Arsenal fans are making such a fuss! They can't even win graciously!

What I don't understand - and I have debated this with the media - is why teams at the top of the league find it necessary to cheat when they have talented players!

Why, Arsenal fan (anonymous I note!)do you find it needful to post your comments in the cyber equivalent of shouting? Has someone hit the spot? Why can't Arsenal fans take any kind of criticism of their team?

Interestingly, a close perusal of the season's stats will show that Rovers were not the team with the most fouls, and a disproportionate amount of yellow cards were issued in comparison. Granted we have some irritating, though passionate players but let's be fair about this. Incompetant refereeing has cost us a win in at least three matches.

Indeed, the top three worst disciplined players of the season were Davies of Bolton, Cahill of Everton and (Shock, Horror) Viera of Arsenal.

Rovers are not going to sit back and let other teams play by themselves - sorry chaps!

As for Manchester United, who knows what will happen given their new owner - I will watch with interest!

And Rovers - no doubt we will continue to be criticised and berated from one end of the pitch to the other. Still, as they say, if you can't stand the heat stay out of the kitchen - and we've absolutely no intention of doing that!

 
At Friday, May 27, 2005 8:45:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wht a great article, another rovers fan here. Amusing that the arsenal fans thought u were a rag! I remember reading the telegraph on the sunday morning and reading tht our tactics were the death of football. It is laughable. It is obvious that we utilised such tactics because we wud hav no chance if we tried to use similar tactics to arsenal. Do people just expect us to role over and have our bellies tickled! no-way! the next time we play you will be the same! like it or lump it!

 
At Sunday, October 09, 2005 10:13:00 pm, Blogger editor said...

Enjoyed reading your blog. Well Done!
I thought the possibility to watch satellite on pc might be interesting.Imagine having the possibility to have live satellite on your pc.
Watch sky cable for free on your laptop and never miss your favourite program.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home