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Thursday, 31 January, 2002, 03:38 GMT
Bergkamp rescues Arsenal
Oleg Luzhny was Arsenal's 11th player sent-off this season
Luzhny was the 11th Arsenal player sent-off this season
Blackburn 2-3 Arsenal
E-mail your reaction to Football Talk

Two goals from Dennis Bergkamp, the second when Arsenal were down to 10 men, gave the Gunners a 3-2 win at Ewood Park.

The win keeps Arsenal second in the table - just a point behind leaders Manchester United, with a game in hand.

  Key moments
14 mins: Bergkamp steers home opener
21 mins: Henry adds Arsenal's second goal
31 mins: Jansen begins Blackburn's comeback
38 mins: Jansen prods home at the far post to level the scores
58 mins: Luzhny sent-off for second bookable offence
75 mins: Bergkamp's left-footed strike gives the points to the Gunners
Arsenal had led 2-0 after 21 minutes, but saw their lead disappear after a double-strike from Matt Jansen.

But Bergkamp, sent off in the FA Cup defeat of Liverpool on Sunday, spared their embarrassment to steer home a left-footed shot after the visitors had lost the services of Oleg Luzhny for a second bookable offence.

Luzhny's dismissal was the 11th red card Arsenal have suffered this season, but Bergkamp himself was lucky to stay on the field.

Before his goal he appeared to strike Nils-Eric Johansson in the face when trying to evade the Swedish defender.


There's no way Bergkamp should have been on the pitch - he smacked my player in the mouth
Rovers boss Graeme Souness on Dennis Bergkamp
The London side dominated the opening stages and it was no surprise when they took the lead after 14 minutes.

Sylvain Wiltord's cross was deflected to Bergkamp six yards out and he side-footed the ball past Brad Friedel.

Blackburn struggled to find a way into the match with Arsenal controlling possession and the Ewood Park side were forced to live off scraps.

The second goal came six minutes later after a Pires ball from his own half picked out Thierry Henry.

The French striker gathered the ball in his stride before he swept the ball past Friedel from a tight angle for his 18th league goal this season.


I think Luzhny's sending off was not deserved at all
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
From being out of the match, Blackburn gave themselves a lifeline after 31 minutes with a goal from Jansen following a short corner.

He steered his glancing header past keeper Richard Wright from seven yards out after Craig Hignett's whipped cross.

He almost levelled the match two minutes later, but his left-footed shot was pushed away by Wright.

Arsenal's reprieve did not last long however. Damien Duff capitalised on a slip by Luzhny and sent a low cross across the face of goal for Jansen, arriving at the far post, to hammer home for his sixth league goal of the campaign.

From being in complete control of the match, Arsenal were suddenly on the back foot.

Dennis Bergkamp celebrates his first goal
Bergkamp was the star of the show
Their chances of salvaging something from the match took a battering 13 minutes after the break when Luzhny was sent off.

The Ukrainian brought down Tugay and received his second yellow card - minutes after his first booking.

Arsenal were fighting to keep Blackburn at bay, but Pires created a chance for Bergkamp who beat Friedel from a tight angle with his left foot to give the 10-man visitors the advantage with 15 minutes left.

Blackburn boss Graeme Souness sent on veteran Mark Hughes in a desperate attempt to gain something from the match, but despite a helter-skelter last few minutes, Arsenal survived to take the points.


Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Bjornebye (Hughes 80), Johansson, Taylor, Hignett (Gillespie 62), Tugay, Flitcroft, Duff, Jansen, Cole.

Subs Not Used: Berg, Mahon, Kelly.

Booked: Jansen, Tugay.

Arsenal: Wright, Luzhny, Campbell, Keown (Upson 67), Cole, Pires (Grimandi 80), Vieira, Wiltord (van Bronckhorst 62), Parlour, Bergkamp, Henry.

Subs Not Used: Edu, Stack.

Sent Off: Luzhny (58).

Booked: Luzhny, van Bronckhorst.

Att: 25,893

Ref: D Gallagher (Oxfordshire).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Sport's John Murray
"Arsenal win despite their eleventh red card of the season"
Blackburn boss Graeme Souness
"Bergkamp shouldn't have been on the pitch"
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"We showed a lot of strength to win"
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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