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banner Tuesday, 11 December, 2001, 21:40 GMT
Blackburn halt Arsenal
Matt Jansen curls the ball round Matthew Upson for Blackburn's first goal
Matt Jansen scores to start Arsenal's night of misery
E-mail your reaction to Football Talk

Blackburn 4-0 Arsenal

Blackburn Rovers have romped into the Worthington Cup semi-finals after crushing a weakened Arsenal side 4-0 on Tuesday night.

The game was over as contest after 21 minutes after Blackburn raced into a three-goal lead thanks to brace from Matt Jansen and one from Mark Hughes.

Jansen completed his hat-trick midway through the second half.

It was a result that brought Arsenal back down to earth after they had secured manager Arsene Wenger's services until 2005 and been given the provisional go-ahead for a new stadium.

At home we're capable of doing this to most teams
Graeme Souness
Blackburn boss

Wenger had included just two players from the team that had beaten Aston Villa 3-2 on Sunday - and it showed. Individual errors contributed to three of Blackburn's goals.

On 11 minutes, the first error saw Tugay dispossess the dithering Junichi Inamoto, allowing the Turk to send Jansen clear with a pass inside Matthew Upson.

Jansen checked back inside Upson before curling his shot into the net.

Four minutes later, the Arsenal goalkeeper Stuart Taylor was unable to hold a Keith Gillespie cross.

Arsenal goalkeeper Stuart Taylor
Stuart Taylor contemplates defeat

Taylor redeemed his error by blocking Damien Duff's shot, only for the ball to end up at Tugay's feet.

Although his shot was going wide, Jansen deftly diverted the Turk's mishit effort into the net.

Arsenal were soon undone again by some more abject defending.

A poor defensive header by Giovanni van Bronckhorst landed at David Dunn's feet.

And though Martin Keown managed to block Dunn's shot, Hughes ended up in possession and calmly finished from 12 yards to score his first goal in 30 games.

Just past the half-hour, Duff nearly made it four, but his left-foot shot hit the post.

Tugay the terrific

During the game's opening exchanges there was no sign that Blackburn would be so dominant.

Inamoto had a shot that flashed past the post and Brad Freidel had to be out quickly to deny Sylvain Wiltord.

We played against a very good Blackburn team
Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager

Arsenal started the second half equally brightly. Within two minutes of the restart, Jermaine Pennant had a good chance to reduce the deficit, but he dragged his shot wide.

But the night belonged to Blackburn and even more so to Jansen, who on 68 minutes secured his hat-trick after another sweeping Blackburn move.

The former Crystal Palace striker was sent clear by Duff, giving Jansen plenty of space and time to calmly strike the ball into the corner of the Arsenal net.

If Jansen's goals caught the eye throughout the evening, so too did Tugay's exquisite midfield play as well as Gillespie's inspired performance on the right wing.

Blackburn: Friedel, Curtis, Johansson, Taylor, Kenna, Gillespie, Dunn, Tugay, Duff, Hughes, Jansen. Subs: Berg, Mahon, Ostenstad, Grabbi, Filan.

Arsenal: Taylor, Tavlaridis, Keown, Upson, Edu, Grimandi, Pennant, Inamoto, van Bronckhorst, Wiltord, Kanu. Subs: Stepanovs, Aliadiere, Halls, Svard, Holloway.

Referee: P Durkin (Dorset).

BBC Sport's Ron Jones
"Arsenal made nine changes and paid the penalty"
Blackburn manager Graeme Souness
"The difference tonight was we took our chances"
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger
"We lacked experience"
Links to more Worthington Cup stories are at the foot of the page.


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