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Rovers 1 Arsenal 1


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Rovers: Friedel, Emerton, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Bentley, Savage, Dunn, Pedersen, Santa Cruz (McCarthy 88), Derbyshire (Ooijer 85). Subs Not Used: Brown, Tugay, Roberts.

Sent Off: Nelsen (84).

Booked: Bentley, Samba, Savage, Nelsen.

Goal: Dunn 72.

Arsenal: Lehmann, Sagna, Toure, Gallas (Senderos 24), Clichy, Walcott (Bendtner 73), Flamini, Fabregas, Hleb, Eduardo (Denilson 65), Van Persie. Subs Not Used: Almunia, Song Billong.

Booked: Flamini, Eduardo, Clichy, Van Persie.

Goal: Van Persie 18.

Att: 24,917

Ref: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).

League Position 8th. (4 points)


Post match comments by Scotty

I hate playing Arsenal. It's never a pleasant experience. They are masters of the dark arts of football - the niggly yet cynical foul, the blatant time-wasting, the dive, the pathetic play acting, the feigning of imaginary injuries. It's all designed to keep the game at a tempo suitable for their prima-donna's to play their, admittedly, great football, and it's all cheating. Yet time after time the referee lets them get away with it.

Anyway, as for the football, I thought we were average in the first half and failed to get a grip in midfield. They weren't much better but a defensive balls-up gave them the lead. The second half was a different story though. We became more physical, we played a lot more direct, and I thought Dunn, Savage and Bentley took control of the game. Arsenal got rattled and a goal was the least we deserved. I'm delighted it was Dunn that got it, let's hope that sets him off on a run of them now.

Friedel obviously made a mistake for their goal but our defence also had chances to clear it. Other than that he didn't have much to do.

I thought our full-backs were poor in the main - although we're a better team with Emerton in it. However, both Emo and Warnock made too many errors that could have led to goals. Nelsen and Samba mopped up well though but still looked shaky at times. Nelsen's red card was justified.

Our midfield was second best in the first half but well on top in the second. Dunn started in a deep, Tugay-esque role but was moved further forward in the second half - where he's a much better player. His driving run for the goal was reminisent of the Dunn of old. Bentley roamed around a lot more in the second half and got himself involved. He rarely wasted a pass, put his usual supply of dangerous crosses in, and worked hard to limit Clichy's attacking threat. He was my man of the match today. Savage's influence grew as the game wore on and his workrate and tenacity spurred the team on in the latter stages. Only Pedersen of the midfield quartet had an off day, although he did fire a trademark half-volley just wide in the second half. He's started the season slowly though.

Up front I thought Santa Cruz looked classy without really having enough supply for most of the game. He's a good threat in the air and holds the ball well, he could be the steal of the season. Derbyshire worked hard but Arsenal's pacey back four were able to snuff out his runs today and he rarely got in behind the defence.

Any point against one of the "big four" is a good one, especially when you have to come from behind to get it. We deserved our draw, we played reasonably well - certainly well enough to suggest we're going to have another good season, but I can't help thinking that 3 points were there for the taking today if we'd started well. Maybe we're just not good enough to play that well against the better teams for 90 minutes. Still, I think we'd have all taken 4 points from our first two games at the start of the season.

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