Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: Arsenal 7 Blackburn 1

The story of this game was so perfect for Arsenal it stretched probability.

Not only did Arsenal record their biggest league win at the Emirates Stadium, but Robin van Persie overtook Dennis Bergkamp in the scoring list with a hat-trick.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also scored his first two Premier League goals for the club and Thierry Henry, in the last minute of his final appearance at their north London home, said goodbye with Arsenal’s seventh.

“That is really something special,” said Wenger.

And the timing could not have been better. After taking just one point from their previous four league games, Arsenal’s challenge for a Champions League place was starting to falter and confidence appeared to be eroding.

While Wenger was rightly cautious about reading too much into the thrashing of a team as abject and submissive as Blackburn were, the surge in self-belief that this game will give to the likes Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott can only be positive.

Arsenal took all of 82 seconds to get going. Radosav Petrovic cleared the ball with embarrassing timidity and Francis Coquelin, the Arsenal right-back, was on to it. He worked the ball to Walcott, who had plenty of time to pick out Van Persie for the simple finish.

Despite Arsenal dominating the early exchanges, Blackburn managed to equalise to give the illusion of competition — talk about false advertising.

Anthony Modeste, signed on loan from Bordeaux last month, rolled Laurent Koscielny on the edge of the box and the Arsenal defender blatantly pulled him back.

Morten Gamst Pedersen hit an excellent free kick that goalkeeper Wojiech Szczesny could not prevent going in the top corner. That was the sum of Blackburn’s defiance and Arsenal swiftly went 3-1 ahead.

Alex Song threaded a precise pass between Martin Olsson and Gaël Givet for Walcott to sprint on to and the England winger again picked out Van Persie in space for the tap in. It was a superb goal and even referee Andre Marriner was involved, having executed a neat step-over in the build-up.

The third was equally impressive, Walcott cutting inside and finding Van Persie, whose fast-stepping footwork got him into the position to deliver a fine pass into the path of Oxlade-Chamberlain, who went coolly round Paul Robinson to finish.

It was hard to understand what went through Givet’s head just two minutes before half-time. Heading, rather sluggishly, for a challenge with Van Persie he hurled himself two-footed at the ball, smashing into the Dutchman’s famously fragile ankles. Perhaps he had had enough, perhaps he thought (not without reason) that his team would be better off without him. Fortunately Van Persie was not badly hurt and Givet did at least have the grace to apologise to Wenger as he left the field.

“We all know the rules,” said Blackburn manager Steve Kean. “We all know that that kind of challenge is not acceptable any longer. He has apologised to the team. He is really cut up, really down. It left us with not enough to effect any pressure on the ball.”

Having already lost Jason Lowe to injury in a clumsy Tomas Rosicky challenge — Bradley Orr came on for his debut — Kean then had to withdraw David Dunn and bring on Grant Hanley. Their only ambition was to avoid complete humiliation.

Thomas Vermaelen had hit a post just before half-time and, after the break, the goals started flowing again. Steven N’Zonzi could only head Van Persie’s corner to the edge of the box where Koscielny’s touch cushioned the ball for Mikel Arteta to score, admittedly with a fairly heavy deflection.

That was six minutes after the break and three minutes later it was five. Walcott cut through some fairly insipid Blackburn defending on the right and, just when it was opening for a shot, selflessly laid the ball off for Oxlade-Chamberlain, who trapped and hit a low shot past Robinson.

Van Persie then completed his hat-trick with another close-range finish, this time after Coquelin had walked past Junior Hoilett on the right.

“His movement in the box should be shown in every football school,” said Wenger. “He is deadly.”

He was also selfless in helping Henry have a perfect Emirates send-off. The veteran caught Hanley on the ball and then checked with Van Persie running off him. The Dutchman could have taken it on and shot but instead found Henry whose shot deflected in off Scott Dann.

Henry will still be with the team for the games at Sunderland and AC Milan. The only way Wenger can have him for the next home game, the north London derby, is if the deal is extended. It was not a bad way to sign off.

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