BLACKBURN (2) vs ARSENAL (1)
ARSENAL boss Arsene Wenger accused Blackburn of being “unfair” to goalkeeper Lucasz Fabianski as his side sunk to a third straight away defeat.
Wenger said Rovers regularly impeding the Polish stopper during periods of aerial bombardment and blamed referee Martin Atkinson for failing to protect his side.
Fabianski has been accused of being vulnerable under pressure and was clearly targeted by Rovers with Morten Gamst Pedersen’s set-pieces causing countless problems.
First, his corner led to David Dunn equalising Robin van Persie’s earlier opener, then he centred for Chris Samba to head home the winner after Fabianski failed to come and collect.
But Wenger refused to blame his keeper, instead venting his frustration at referee Atkinson.
“There is no purpose to play the ball from the Blackburn players – they don’t even watch the ball,” he said. “He [Fabianski] had two players in front of him all the time and every time it was to stop him getting the ball.
“In football when you don’t go for the ball and you stop the keeper going for the ball it is a foul. The referee cannot allow that. I am very disappointed the referee lets that happen in a football game, it is unfair to a goalkeeper. As a referee you have to give more protection.”
Victory for the Gunners would have secured a group stage qualification for next year’s Champions League, and Van Persie took them a step closer with a close-range header on 14 minutes – his first goal since returning from a five-month with an ankle injury.
But Rovers battled away and Dunn pulled them level after Keith Andrews’ centre wasn’t cleared.
Rovers bombarded the Gunners with a wave of high balls after the break and it paid off when Samba headed home the winner on 68 minutes from three yards out.