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Saturday, 26 October, 2002, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Blackburn pile on Arsenal pain
Arsenal's Gilberto and Sylvain Wiltord surround Nils-Eric Johansson of Blackburn
That was the week that saw Arsenal lose three times
Arsenal 1-2 Blackburn

Blackburn completed a miserable week for Arsenal as Graeme Souness' side came away from Highbury with a priceless win.

An Edu own goal and Dwight Yorke's opportunistic strike provided Blackburn's goals but it was Brad Friedel's goalkeeping heriocs that ultimately denied Arsenal.


We rode our luck and we were gritty
Blackburn manager Graeme Souness

Edu equalised just before half-time but the American goalkeeper then kept out everything Arsenal could throw at him as Blackburn also survived Garry Flitcroft's late dismissal.

The Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger brought on Robert Pires and Dennis Bergkamp, but even that influential duo were unable to rescue the game.

  Key incidents
6 mins: Edu's own goal puts Arsenal behind
45 mins: Edu's free-kick pulls Arsenal level
51 mins: Dwight Yorke restores Blackburn's lead
79 mins: Garry Flitcroft is dismissed for a second bookable offence

The defeat was another blow for Wenger, following the loss of their unbeaten records in both the Premiership and the Champions League and Patrick Vieira's two-match ban.

The defeat sees Arsenal fall further behind leaders Liverpool - Wenger's side are now four points adrift.


Everyone is very concerned but this team is highly committed and I'm very confident that we will come back
Arsene Wenger

After those defeats to Everton and Auxerre, Arsenal were again left reeling after just five minutes.

Yorke's cut back appeared to provide no real danger, but Edu stuck out a foot and somehow lobbed his own keeper, who was unable to react in time.

Beaten by Artim Sakiri's corner and by shots of the highest order by Wayne Rooney and Olivier Kapo, Seaman must wonder when his luck is will change.

Just before the interval Edu's fierce dead-ball effort flew through a crowded penalty area and into the far corner of the net off the inside of the upright.

Arsenal's Kanu battles with Nils-Eric Johansson of Blackburn
Blackburn's defence held out in the second half

On 51 minutes Arsenal found themselves behind again.

Tugay sent Egil Ostenstad racing through the centre and he had the presence of mind to square the ball to Yorke, who clipped his finish over the diving figure of Seaman.

For long periods of that opening half Arsenal were camped in and around the Blackburn goal, peppering Friedel with all manner of shots and headers.

Sol Campbell placed a header wide and Thierry Henry scuffed a shot just past the far post, while Ashley Cole's goalbound drive was unwittingly kept out by Fredrik Ljungberg.

Sylvain Wiltord also went close on a number of occasions, twice almost giving Arsenal the lead before Edu's own goal.

He was first denied by Friedel's scrambling save before another of his shots was deflected wide by Martin Taylor.

Friedel also produced an astonishing reaction save to deny Henry from 10 yards out and proved just as indomitable after Edu's equaliser.



Arsenal: Seaman, Lauren, Campbell, Cygan, Cole (Toure 87), Wiltord, Edu (Pires 63), Silva, Ljungberg, Kanu (Bergkamp 64), Henry.
Subs Not Used: Taylor, Luzhny.

Booked: Henry.

Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Berg, Taylor, Tugay (Gillespie 66), Dunn (Jansen 85), Flitcroft, Thompson, Johansson, Ostenstad (Short 83), Yorke.
Subs Not Used: Grabbi, Kelly.

Sent Off: Flitcroft (79).
Booked: Ostenstad, Johansson, Flitcroft.

Attendance: 38,064

Referee: G Barber (Hertfordshire).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Nigel Adderley
"Arsenal have only themselves to blame"
Blackburn boss Graeme Souness
"We rode our luck at times"
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"It has been a black week"
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