The Arsenal boys recorded their first win of the season via a 6-0 thumping of Blackpool at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
It was game packed with feel-good moments: Theo Walcott responded to his World Cup dumping by scoring an excellent hat-trick, Cesc Fabregas was given a brilliant response from the fans on his introduction from the substitutes bench and Marouane Chamakh scored his debut goal since signing from Bordeaux.
There was one significant change to the starting line-up that I predicted on Friday with Alex Song stepping in at centre-back instead of Johan Djourou and Tomas Rosicky replacing the injured Samir Nasri in midfield
The star of the show was Walcott, who caused Blackpool no end of trouble with his pace and movement and finished up the game with three superbly-taken goals.
Perhaps what impressed even more about Walcott was that his decision-making regarding when to carry the ball and when to release the ball early, quite often his undoing, was spot-on.
Two first-half moments summed this up for me: the first involved him heading a one-two with Rosicky before racing down the wing and setting Andrey Arshavin up with an accurate cross, the second involved a lovely bit of dribbling in the centre of the pitch and a beautifully-disguised pass for Chamakh that the Moroccan pulled wide of the goal.
Walcott will continue to have a tendency to be inconsistent at this stage of his career but his performance at Blackpool was a reminder of the potential impact he can have for Arsenal going forward.
The key moment of the game came after Walcott’s opener as Ian Evatt was sent-off for bringing down a through-on-goal Chamakh.
The red card effectively ended Blackpool’s chances: with a man down they were always more likely to receive a belting then get back into the game.
And so it proved as Arshavin slotted home the penalty, Walcott added a third and the team coasted towards the break.
Arsenal ran riot in the second half, Abou Diaby continuing the scoring with a lovely fourth goal before turning provider for Walcott to complete his hat-trick and make the score five nil.
Chamakh should have opened his account soon after, shinning over with the goal at his mercy, but made up for it later to complete the scoring with a towering header from substitute Robin van Persie’s corner kick.
Although Walcott’s performance was the big positive to come out of this game there were plenty of others: Arshavin was far more busy than in the opening game, Jack Wilshere was given more time and space to show what he can do and Chamakh showed good determination to react from two poor misses to score his first goal for the club.
You have to be a sad man to find something to criticise when your team wins 6-0, and I am not a sad man.
It may only have been against Blackpool but you cant only beat what is put in front of you and for all the fans who saw the game in the stadium or on television around the world, this was a thoroughly-enjoyable win.
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