Post Match View – Blackburn Rovers F.C.

I’ve tried to think of the most difficult result to stomach from matches when Sam Allardyce was the opposition’s manager. There were many. I couldn’t target just one. His teams have frustrated us over the years. Simply put, I don’t like the man. He epitomizes everything I feel is wrong with the traditional English approach to football.

Frankly, for a league that trumpets how it is the best in the world, I find it hard to accept that managers like Sam Allardyce are still employed in the EPL. Worse, when a team that plays the style of football that Arsenal does is challenged not by a similar approach with emphasis on technique, movement, and passing but by pushing the envelope and trying to get away with as much physical, rough play as possible, I have to ask how it helps the league’s profile.

This touches on a different issue for a different day but Sam Allardyce does English football’s progress no favors at all.

The week leading up to the home fixture vs. Blackburn was dominated by Arsene becoming the longest standing manager in Arsenal history. And all the plaudits are fully deserved. Few would argue that.

For me it was fitting that the celebration climaxed with a match against a thorny if not despicable opponent, Sam Allardyce. Fitting was how Blackburn literally jumped to an early lead – Vermaelen was beaten well by the taller Steven N’Zonzi in as picture-book an illustration of Route One football as you’ll ever see – only for us to equalize with a terrific strike by Vermaelen himself.

Fitting was how David Dunn (who at one point did his best Toni Schumacher imitation to take out Vito Mannone) would put his side ahead, only for us to come back just three minutes later with Robin scoring an equalizer. That’s three in three matches for van Persie. All of them key goals as well.

It was fitting that Thierry Henry would be in attendance to watch us put six in Paul Robinson’s net. Mind, if it weren’t for Robinson, we’d have scored even more. It should be said that we escaped a few close calls ourselves but there was no doubting which the better team was.

It was fitting that Theo would score and look as fresh as can be. He’s come back and contributed to us beating a team that we should beat. Dropping points to the lesser sides does not help title chasers.

It was fitting that Nicklas Bendtner who escaped a car crash would come on and score. He could and should have scored twice. Having added the sixth, he became the sixth different player to net for us in the match.

It was fitting that Andrey scored as well. I loved how he quickly responded with threats to Robinson’s goal almost immediately after we went down 1 -0. He and Robin could be setting up for a tight race for leading scorer. I still feel he hasn’t got out of third gear yet. That is scary.

It was fitting that Cesc responded to doubts about his commitment to the club with a goal and four assists. Clearly a Man of the Match display. The badge kissing may be a tired, over-used gesture but it was nice to see. Let’s enjoy him while he’s with us and just forget the back to Spain stuff.

The most fitting of all was the look on Allardyce’s face towards the end of the match. I never forget who my enemies are. I’ll never forget the look of anguish and helplessness on his face on the day we celebrated our greatest manager.

Let that be a lesson to you Mr. Allardyce. Respect Arsene Wenger for the great manager and the great human being that he is. You can do worse than to try and emulate him. But you won’t try to because it’s not in you to do things with the class and dignity that Wenger oozes.

Go back to your cave Mr. Allardyce. You do football no favors.

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