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Page last updated at 14:22 GMT, Sunday, 10 April 2011 15:22 UK

Blackpool   1 - 3   Arsenal

Arsenal celebrate their second goal
Eboue (far right) drove in Arsenal's second goal at Bloomfield Road

By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at Bloomfield Road

Arsenal kept up the pressure on Premier League leaders Manchester United and maintained their title hopes with victory at Blackpool.

Arsene Wenger's side have reduced United's lead to seven points with a game in hand, despite veteran 41-year-old keeper Jens Lehmann being thrust into his first start for the club in three years, after Manuel Almunia was injured in the warm-up.

Lehmann had a relatively untroubled first half as Arsenal established firm control courtesy of two goals in three minutes from Abou Diaby and Emmanuel Eboue.

The visitors could have built up an unassailable lead before half-time as Samir Nasri hit a post and was also denied by Blackpool keeper Richard Kingson.

Blackpool launched an assault on the Gunners after the break as Gary Taylor-Fletcher pulled a goal back after 52 minutes and then appeared to be denied a clear penalty by referee Lee Mason when he was brought down by Laurent Koscielny.

It was not the only incident Tangerines boss Ian Holloway will have regarded as pivotal, with Keith Southern somehow failing to even make contact with a header in front of an open goal as Arsenal suffered a serious wobble and frailties were exposed.

Wenger credits Lehmann influence

Wenger introduced Theo Walcott to give Arsenal extra pace and thrust, and the ploy worked when he raced clear to set up Robin van Persie for the crucial third 14 minutes from time.

There was still time for Lehmann - on a short-term deal at Arsenal and only a week shy of being the oldest player ever to play for the club by overtaking 1920s winger Jock Rutherford - to show some of the old instincts by saving with his legs as DJ Campbell looked certain to give Blackpool hope of a late recovery.

Wenger's frustration at Arsenal's recent collapse was obvious before the game but this victory will lift the spirits of manager, players and supporters as they still retain hope of catching United.

For Blackpool, this defeat increased their relegation worries and extended a dismal sequence of losing 11 out of 15 Premier League games since the turn of the year.

There was drama even before kick-off when it became clear Almunia was struggling with a knee injury as he warmed up in the goalmouth, forcing a hasty rewrite of Wenger's teamsheet and the return of former Germany keeper Lehmann to the colours.

After that late change, it was inevitable that Blackpool would attempt to apply early pressure on Lehmann - but his only moment of discomfort came when he attempted to take a goal kick with a lace undone.

Van Persie gave a sign of the problems to come for Blackpool when he escaped the offside trap to run on to Cesc Fabregas's pass but his touch was heavy off his chest and Kingson raced from his line to claim.

Blackpool's reprieve was brief as their defensive shortcomings were brutally revealed when Arsenal took the lead. Van Persie was allowed too much time and space on the left flank and his cross was met by the easiest of finishes from Diaby.

Holloway incensed by referee

And three minutes later Arsenal doubled their advantage when Blackpool's defence was once more nowhere to be seen as Eboue drove into the area before sending a thumping finish past Kingson.

Holloway immediately moved towards the touchline to reorganise and attempt to lift his players, whose bright start had been totally undermined by their calamitous lack of composure and organisation at the back.

Charlie Adam, predictably, was probing and trying to spark life into Blackpool - but the task was proving even beyond the player who has provided so much inspiration in this eventful season by the seaside.

Arsenal threatened to unlock Blackpool's defence every time they attacked and Nasri almost increased their lead twice in the space of seconds as the interval loomed. He brought a fine block from Kingson before striking the outside of an upright after collecting Fabregas's clever lofted pass in the area.

Lehmann was finally given an anxious moment in the dying seconds of the half when Taylor-Fletcher and Adam combined in the area and it needed desperate defending to keep Blackpool out in a six-yard scramble.

Holloway had clearly delivered stern words to his players at half-time. They steamed into Arsenal on the resumption and Luke Varney should have done better than steer Adam's free-kick wide.

It was not long, however, before Blackpool did get the goal their renewed ambition deserved. And great credit must go to referee Mason, who twice played advantage before Taylor-Fletcher scored from close range.

Jack Wilshere committed a foul for which he was booked and Lehmann hauled down Campell as he raced into the area but Mason waited - crucially - to see how the play developed, allowing Taylor-Fletcher to ignite the contest.

Mason did not draw any credit from Blackpool or Holloway moments later when Taylor-Fletcher was clearly caught by Koscielny's trailing leg in the area. It looked a certain penalty but to the home supporters' fury - and Arsenal's undoubted relief - he waved play on.

And, as Arsenal rocked, Southern missed a header with the goal gaping in front of him and Lehmann unprotected.

Wenger needed to restore a measure of order to proceedings and introduced Walcott for Andrey Arshavin, who had been very much on the margins of the game.

Van Persie almost restored Arsenal's two-goal lead as Blackpool pressed for the leveller, shooting just wide and then sending a spectacular volley over the angle from Fabregas's pass.

The Netherlands striker made no mistake when handed a third opportunity. It was a goal that owed almost everything to Walcott, who exploited time and space to leave Van Persie to complete a formality of a finish.

Blackpool were denied a grandstand finish when Lehmann saved from Campbell - but Arsenal will have travelled back to the capital with their dreams of winning the title still alive.

Live text and stats

 

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Blackpool 1-3 Arsenal FT
(HT 0-2)
  • Taylor-Fletcher 52
  • Diaby 18
  • Eboue 21
  • Van Persie 76

Blackpool

Substitutes

Arsenal

Substitutes

Ref: MasonAtt: 16,030
BLACKPOOL
ARSENAL

Possession

  • Blackpool 41%
  • Arsenal 59%

Attempts on target

  • Blackpool 6
  • Arsenal 7

Attempts off target

  • Blackpool 6
  • Arsenal 9

Corners

  • Blackpool 6
  • Arsenal 4

Fouls

  • Blackpool 13
  • Arsenal 9
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+3:16 The match has reached full-time.
  • 90:00+2:30 Corner taken left-footed by Andy Reid from the right by-line, Vassiriki Diaby manages to make a clearance.
  • 90:00+2:25 The ball is crossed by Matt Phillips, Gael Clichy gets a block in.
  • 90:00+0:41 Unfair challenge on Theo Walcott by Stephen Crainey results in a free kick. Emmanuel Eboue takes the free kick.
  • 89:13 Foul by Ian Evatt on Jack Wilshere, free kick awarded. Theo Walcott has a direct shot on goal from the free kick.
  • 87:59 Substitution Aaron Ramsey replaces Francesc Fabregas.
  • 87:26 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jack Wilshere on Charlie Adam. Direct free kick taken by Charlie Adam.
  • 87:03 Sergey Kornilenko challenges Francesc Fabregas unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
  • 85:44 Substitution Jason Puncheon leaves the field to be replaced by Sergey Kornilenko.
  • 85:44 Substitution Samir Nasri goes off and Kieran Gibbs comes on.
  • 85:11 Alex Baptiste delivers the ball, Ian Evatt takes a shot. Save by Jens Lehmann.
  • 84:54 The ball is swung over by Stephen Crainey, Gael Clichy manages to make a clearance.
  • 83:32 Matt Phillips delivers the ball, save by Jens Lehmann.
  • 81:57 Substitution Matt Phillips replaces Keith Southern.
  • 80:39 The referee blows for offside. Jens Lehmann takes the indirect free kick.
  • 80:07 Robin van Persie produces a cross, save made by Richard Kingson.
  • 79:17 Corner from the left by-line taken by Robin van Persie, Francesc Fabregas has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.
  • 79:02 Charlie Adam challenges Jack Wilshere unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Emmanuel Eboue.
  • 78:46 Gary Taylor-Fletcher takes a shot. Sebastien Squillaci gets a block in.
  • 78:10 Dudley Campbell takes a shot. Save made by Jens Lehmann.
  • 75:23 The assist for the goal came from Theo Walcott.
  • 75:23 GOAL - Robin van PersieBlackpool 1 - 3 Arsenal Robin van Persie fires in a goal from inside the six-yard box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Blackpool 1-3 Arsenal.
  • 74:28 Shot from deep inside the area by Gary Taylor-Fletcher goes over the bar.
  • 73:39 The offside flag is raised against Theo Walcott. Free kick taken by Ian Evatt.
  • 72:58 Robin van Persie produces a left-footed shot from inside the area that clears the bar.
  • 72:32 The ball is delivered by Gael Clichy, Richard Kingson manages to make a clearance.
  • 71:45 The ball is crossed by Samir Nasri, Craig Cathcart makes a clearance.
  • 68:36 Free kick awarded for a foul by Stephen Crainey on Theo Walcott. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Robin van Persie, clearance by Craig Cathcart.
  • 68:36 Booking Stephen Crainey goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.
  • 67:49 Centre by Theo Walcott.
  • 66:39 Shot from just outside the box by Alex Baptiste goes over the target.
  • 66:12 The assistant referee flags for offside against Theo Walcott. Richard Kingson takes the indirect free kick.
  • 66:00 Vassiriki Diaby crosses the ball, clearance by Ian Evatt.
  • 65:29 Samir Nasri crosses the ball, Craig Cathcart manages to make a clearance.
  • 64:07 Francesc Fabregas fouled by Andy Reid, the ref awards a free kick. Robin van Persie crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right channel, clearance made by Ian Evatt.
  • 63:40 Keith Southern gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jack Wilshere. Direct free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
  • 63:40 Booking Keith Southern goes into the referee's book.
  • 63:22 Andy Reid gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jack Wilshere. Emmanuel Eboue restarts play with the free kick.
  • 61:22 Effort on goal by Robin van Persie from inside the box misses to the right of the target.
  • 60:31 The referee blows for offside. Jens Lehmann restarts play with the free kick.
  • 60:31 Substitution Theo Walcott on for Andrey Arshavin.
  • 59:25 Substitution Andy Reid replaces Luke Varney.
  • 58:30 The ball is sent over by Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Gael Clichy makes a clearance.
  • 57:53 Corner taken by Charlie Adam played to the near post, Robin van Persie makes a clearance.
  • 57:23 Charlie Adam fouled by Francesc Fabregas, the ref awards a free kick. Stephen Crainey takes the direct free kick.
  • 56:59 Francesc Fabregas takes a shot. Blocked by Keith Southern.
  • 56:35 The ball is crossed by Luke Varney, Gael Clichy manages to make a clearance.
  • 55:43 The ball is swung over by Gary Taylor-Fletcher, Close range header by Keith Southern goes wide of the left-hand post.
  • 54:29 Effort from just outside the area by Jack Wilshere goes over the target.
  • 53:54 Charlie Adam challenges Samir Nasri unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by Robin van Persie from right wing, save by Richard Kingson.
  • 53:27 Foul by Jason Puncheon on Francesc Fabregas, free kick awarded. Sebastien Squillaci takes the free kick.
  • 52:30 Booking The referee shows Jack Wilshere a yellow card.
  • 51:21 GOAL - Gary Taylor-FletcherBlackpool 1 - 2 Arsenal Goal scored by Gary Taylor-Fletcher from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Blackpool 1-2 Arsenal.
  • 50:28 Centre by Robin van Persie, Ian Evatt manages to make a clearance.
  • 48:21 Unfair challenge on Luke Varney by Emmanuel Eboue results in a free kick. The ball is crossed by Charlie Adam, Effort from inside the six-yard box by Luke Varney goes wide left of the target.
  • 47:38 The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Jens Lehmann.
  • 47:00 Unfair challenge on Charlie Adam by Jack Wilshere results in a free kick. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Charlie Adam from right channel, Vassiriki Diaby manages to make a clearance.
  • 46:25 Gary Taylor-Fletcher delivers the ball, clearance by Laurent Koscielny.
  • 46:05 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jason Puncheon by Jack Wilshere. Stephen Crainey takes the direct free kick.
  • 45:19 Luke Varney concedes a free kick for a foul on Emmanuel Eboue. Emmanuel Eboue takes the direct free kick.
  • 45:01 The referee starts the second half.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+2:34 The whistle is blown to end the first half.
  • 45:00+1:49 Francesc Fabregas takes a shot from long distance which goes wide right of the target.
  • 45:00+0:54 A cross is delivered by Luke Varney, Dudley Campbell takes a shot. Save made by Jens Lehmann.
  • 45:00+0:23 Vassiriki Diaby concedes a free kick for a foul on Alex Baptiste. Direct free kick taken by Charlie Adam.
  • 45:00+0:23 Booking The referee cautions Vassiriki Diaby for unsporting behaviour.
  • 44:55 Jack Wilshere has an effort at goal from 6 yards. Save by Richard Kingson.
  • 43:45 Gary Taylor-Fletcher fouled by Vassiriki Diaby, the ref awards a free kick. Charlie Adam crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from left channel.
  • 42:52 A cross is delivered by Emmanuel Eboue, Richard Kingson makes a save.
  • 41:32 Jason Puncheon is adjudged to have handled the ball. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Francesc Fabregas.
  • 40:54 The assistant referee signals for offside against Robin van Persie. Richard Kingson restarts play with the free kick.
  • 40:01 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Robin van Persie, clearance made by Ian Evatt.
  • 37:43 The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by Richard Kingson.
  • 36:50 Shot by Samir Nasri from deep inside the penalty box hits the post.
  • 36:36 Samir Nasri takes a shot. Save by Richard Kingson.
  • 34:30 Short corner taken by Robin van Persie from the right by-line.
  • 32:45 Robin van Persie takes a shot. Richard Kingson makes a save.
  • 31:00 Unfair challenge on Charlie Adam by Emmanuel Eboue results in a free kick. Charlie Adam crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from left wing, clearance made by Gael Clichy.
  • 30:20 Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Charlie Adam from the left by-line, Francesc Fabregas manages to make a clearance.
  • 30:15 Stephen Crainey delivers the ball, blocked by Sebastien Squillaci.
  • 26:41 The ball is swung over by Francesc Fabregas, Craig Cathcart manages to make a clearance.
  • 24:00 The ball is sent over by Samir Nasri, clearance by Alex Baptiste.
  • 23:43 Vassiriki Diaby crosses the ball, Craig Cathcart manages to make a clearance.
  • 20:39 The assist for the goal came from Jack Wilshere.
  • 20:39 GOAL - Emmanuel EboueBlackpool 0 - 2 Arsenal Emmanuel Eboue grabs a goal from inside the area high into the middle of the goal. Blackpool 0-2 Arsenal.
  • 17:33 The assist for the goal came from Robin van Persie.
  • 17:33 GOAL - Vassiriki DiabyBlackpool 0 - 1 Arsenal Vassiriki Diaby gets on the score sheet with a goal from close range low into the middle of the goal. Blackpool 0-1 Arsenal.
  • 16:35 Samir Nasri is ruled offside. Richard Kingson takes the free kick.
  • 16:19 Charlie Adam challenges Vassiriki Diaby unfairly and gives away a free kick. Francesc Fabregas restarts play with the free kick.
  • 16:01 Charlie Adam delivers the ball, clearance by Gael Clichy.
  • 15:49 Charlie Adam crosses the ball.
  • 15:38 Gary Taylor-Fletcher produces a cross, clearance made by Laurent Koscielny.
  • 15:17 Gael Clichy concedes a free kick for a foul on Gary Taylor-Fletcher. Direct free kick taken by Charlie Adam.
  • 14:49 Charlie Adam takes the outswinging corner, Header from deep inside the area by Ian Evatt goes over the bar.
  • 14:29 Jason Puncheon takes a shot. Blocked by Laurent Koscielny.
  • 10:11 Luke Varney delivers the ball, Jens Lehmann makes a save.
  • 9:31 Centre by Gary Taylor-Fletcher, save made by Jens Lehmann.
  • 7:56 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Francesc Fabregas by Charlie Adam. Strike comes in from Robin van Persie from the free kick.
  • 6:47 The ball is sent over by Luke Varney.
  • 5:56 Luke Varney crosses the ball, Sebastien Squillaci gets a block in.
  • 5:21 Andrey Arshavin has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the goal.
  • 5:11 The ball is crossed by Francesc Fabregas, clearance made by Craig Cathcart.
  • 4:43 Samir Nasri takes the inswinging corner, Charlie Adam manages to make a clearance.
  • 4:34 The ball is sent over by Robin van Persie, clearance by Ian Evatt.
  • 3:57 The offside flag is raised against Dudley Campbell. Free kick taken by Laurent Koscielny.
  • 2:33 Corner taken left-footed by Charlie Adam to the near post, Header from close range by Ian Evatt misses to the right of the goal.
  • 2:29 The ball is crossed by Jason Puncheon, blocked by Sebastien Squillaci.
  • 1:56 Inswinging corner taken by Charlie Adam from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Francesc Fabregas.
  • 1:49 The ball is sent over by Alex Baptiste, blocked by Gael Clichy.
  • 1:44 Gary Taylor-Fletcher delivers the ball, Gael Clichy gets a block in.
  • 0:00 The match begins.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



Print Sponsor


Barclays Premier League results

10 Apr 2011 23:59 UK


Barclays Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 10 Apr 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Man Utd 32 38 69
2 Arsenal 31 32 62
3 Chelsea 31 30 58
4 Man City 31 23 56
5 Tottenham 31 8 53
6 Liverpool 31 4 45
7 Everton 32 4 44
8 Bolton 32 3 43
9 Newcastle 32 1 39
10 West Brom 32 -13 39
11 Fulham 32 1 38
12 Stoke 32 -3 38
13 Sunderland 32 -10 38
14 Aston Villa 32 -13 37
15 Blackburn 32 -12 35
16 Birmingham 31 -12 35
17 Blackpool 32 -20 33
18 West Ham 32 -18 32
19 Wolves 32 -20 32
20 Wigan 32 -23 31

see also
Wenger hails 'competitor' Lehmann
10 Apr 11 |  Premier League
Sunday's football photos
10 Apr 11 |  Football
Sunday football as it happened
10 Apr 11 |  Football
Lawro's predictions
12 Apr 11 |  Football Focus



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