Arsenal continued their impressive run of form since the loss to Fulham with a comprehensive 4-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers on Saturday afternoon.
The starting side was as close to full-strength as it has been all season as Manuel Almunia started in goals behind the first-choice back four of Bacary Sagna, William Gallas, Kolo Toure and Gael Clichy. Denilson continued in the middle of the park alongside Cesc Fabregas while Theo Walcott replaced the injured Samir Nasri on the left and Emmanuel Eboue started on the right. Up front were the two usual suspects, Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie.
And it was the two strikers who grabbed the goals. Van Persie got the ball rolling with the opener after just eight minutes, flicking home a shot after a penetrating run and pass by England’s man-of-the-moment Walcott. From then on it was the Adebayor show as the big Togo striker scored three goals; the first just before the break after heading home a lovely cross from Denilson; the second from the penalty spot after Eboue was ‘fouled’; and the third late on after collecting substitute Aaron Ramsey’s pass, rounding Paul Robinson and tapping into the empty net.
You can see all the goals from the match here.
Aside from the goals the boys created numerous other opportunities to score, van Persie’s side-netting shot, Walcott’s Henry-like curler which flew wide and Eboue’s power-drive immediately spring to mind. However, so too did Blackburn, and Paul Ince will have considered his side a little unlucky to come away as four-goal losers.
Indeed, the Arsenal defence was not at it’s best in this game – particularly in the first half – and I felt we were lucky to get away with a clean sheet after both Roque Santa Cruz and Keith Andrews missed relatively simple efforts. As a result, I was somewhat surprised that Arsene Wenger had this to say after the match:
Blackburn are a team that can be dangerous going forward and I feel that, as well as our good offensive performance, we had a good defensive performance. I am happy we didn’t concede and that we always looked fluid going forward. It was a well-accomplished away game.”
We certainly looked going forward but to say that this was a strong defensive performance was incorrect. Indeed, I would say that apart from the Fulham debacle this was probably the most fragile that our defence has looked so far this season. Whether it was a product of a lack of cover from the midfield by Denilson (who otherwise played quite well, mind you) or the return of the Toure-Gallas combination in central defence I don’t know. But I do think the manager has some work to do to get things working a little more smoothly.
While the defence needs some work, the attacking side of Arsenal’s game is looking superb. Both Eboue and Walcott had strong games, as did Denilson and Fabregas in the middle of the park. Up front van Persie looked sharp right up until his substitution and Adebayor was rewarded for his tireless workrate with three well-taken goals. The first one was particularly impressive as Arsenal sprayed a remarkable 27 passes around before the big Togolese striker nodded home. Or so I was told by my mate at the pub…
The game was made notable for the introduction of Jack Wilshere, who at 16 years 256 days become Arsenal’s youngest ever Premiership player. All I can say is well dont to him, and may there be many more games to come.
Other bits and pieces still hanging around from the weekend is the admission from Miguel Veloso’s agent that Arsenal are looking to organise a January deal for the player and some more comments from Mikael Silvestre about the fact that he is happy to play as a central defender at his new club.
To the first I’ll just say that I don’t really care right now, the transfer window is shut and I don’t want to think about who might be bought in 4 months time when there’s a heck of a lot of football to be enjoyed. And the to the second I’ll just say that I’m happy for Silvestre and that I just want him to get fit because he’s not much good to us – in any position – while he’s sitting on the treatment table.
Anyway, that’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed the thorough flogging of Blackburn and I’ll speak to you again on the blog tomorrow. Adios!
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