Arsenal meltdown: at this rate, they face relegation

Sep 18, 2011
Ben Riley-Smith

Two own-goals in defensive horror show hand lowly Blackburn a 4-3 victory

ARSENE WENGER was forced to rebuff questions about his future after Arsenal lost 4-3 to lowly Blackburn yesterday, scoring two own-goals on the day and registering their third defeat in five league games.
"There is nothing to say about my future, my future is at this club focusing on what I do well," Wenger said after the match. "But having just four points after five games is terrible. It is not good enough, and neither is coming here and conceding four goals. Defensively we are just not solid enough."
It is the manner of Arsenal's defeat which is most damning for the beleaguered Frenchman. Early goals from Gervinho, who slotted a through ball from Alex Song past the advancing Paul Robinson with consummate ease, and new boy Mikel Arteta, who swiftly followed Yakubu's equaliser with a tidy finish after a cut back, set Arsenal cruising into a 2-1 lead at half time.
What followed was a defensive capitulation. First Song stuck a knee out at Rochina's lofted free kick, tamely diverting the ball into his own net. Nine minutes later another set piece scuppered the Gunners, with a long corner finding the unmarked Steven N'Zonzi, whose drilled shot was turned in by Yakubu.
A second Arsenal own goal – Laurent Koscielny bumbling in a cross from Martin Olsson after a mazy counterattack – wrapped up Blackburn's comeback. Not even a late Marouane Chamakh goal could hide Arsenal's dire collapse.
"I cannot say I am not worried when you see the performance we put in today," Wenger said. "There was a lack of concentration at corners and free-kicks, and when you are 2-1 up away from home what you must not do is give away cheap goals. We did that, and let Blackburn back into the game."
Arsenal now have the worst goal difference in the Premier League with minus eight.  Even with the addition of Germany's Per Mertesacker, the Gunners' defence is in a woeful state. "We no longer appear to have the capability to keep our defensive focus for the whole 90 minutes," Wenger mused after the match.

He can only hope they regain their focus soon – with four points from five games, Arsenal are currently displaying relegation form.

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