Arsenal 6 (Vermaelen 17, van Persie 33, Arshavin 37, Fabregas 57, Walcott 75, Bendtner 89)
Blackburn 2 (Nzonzi 3, Dunn 30))
The optimists will look at the six goals score by Arsenal – the pessimists at the two conceded – but there is not an Arsenal supporter out there who would have failed to enjoy yesterday’s romp over Blackburn. The visitors may have taken the lead twice and given a good account of themselves in the first 45 minutes but they were ultimately blown away by our boys who notched up three goals in each half courtesy six different goalscorers.
After Blackburn’s Steven N’Zonzi outjumped Thomas Vermaelen to head home the opener, the rampaging Belgian defender took matters into his own hands to equalise and did so with another superb goal, hammering home from 25-yards. Blackburn then surprisingly retook the lead when Bacary Sagna was caught too far forward and David Dunn’s shot was deflected in by William Gallas, but our boys turned the screw and notched two superb goals to lead at the break through Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin.
Captain Cesc Fabregas astonishingly assisted all three of Arsenal’s first-half goals and he then went one better to score a superbly-controlled volley from outside the box. He chose to celebrate by kissing the Arsenal badge and pointing to the fans but unlike Emmanuel Adebayor who tried the same trick a couple of pre-seasons ago, everybody in the stadium believed him. Great stuff by the little maestro and he wasn’t finished yet.
The shots continued to fly in thick and fast from Arsenal and while it was no surprise to see them make it 5-2, the identity of the goalscorer was little less predictable. Theo Walcott, back after a decent lay-off with injury, finished off a superb counter-attack that involved Arshavin and that man Fabregas before fellow substitute Nicklas Bendtner rounded off the scoring with his first league goal of the season, scooting past a couple of Blackburn defenders before hammering another unstoppable shot in off the post.
So 6-2 it ended and despite the ridiculous suggestion made by Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce that the game hinged on a penalty appeal involving David Dunn at 3-2, we fully deserved the win.
The last two Arsenal games have shown just how important Cesc Fabregas can be to the Arsenal Football Club. While his teammates showed against Manchester United that they can handle the heat in his absence, Fabregas’ output in the Premier League so far this has been exceptional. Yesterday’s effort of a goal and four assists took his tally to four goals and eight assists for the season, numbers that no other midfielder in England can come close to.
I certainly count myself among the football observers who thought a week or two ago that Fabregas looked a little flat and could perhaps have done with a bit of a rest. But since then he has produced two performances of the highest quality, dominating the midfield area and damaging Olympiacos and Blackburn with his impeccable passing and all-round game. He appears motivated, focused and as yesterday’s badge kiss showed, extremely proud to be an Arsenal player which is exactly what we need from our captain and leader going forward.
Fabregas will get most of the attention for yesterday’s win I believe Robin van Persie deserves a decent shout-out as well. There may have been better performers on the day – Arshavin, Vermaelen and Rosicky all did well – but van Persie has now scored four in his last four games and yesterday’s goal was a perfect example of the improvements he has made since the start of the season.
I remember people being on his back for his inability to convert against the likes of Everton and Portsmouth early on but in the past few matches he has been taking his chances with real quality. Yesterday’s goal in particular was a perfect example of the sort of finish the Samuel Eto’os and Fernando Torres’ of the world are so well-respected for and if he continues to get on the scoresheet he remains a decent chance of finishing as the Premier League’s top goalscorer. Well done, Robin.
The final talking point is perhaps the only negative from yesterday’s win – the somewhat flimsy performance of our defence. While Vermaelen can hardly be criticised after producing an all-action display, I though the rest of the back four and in particular Alex Song were not quite at their best against Blackburn. While the manager admitted that the defensive performance was “a consequence of our philosophy” the fact is that the first goal never should have been conceded and too often Song was not doing his usual job of mopping up in front of the centre backs.
While it’s definitely a minor gripe given the nature of the game – I’d take a 6-2 win any day of the week – it showed that Song’s role remains an incredibly important one and if he is not at his best it will put a lot of pressure on our defence. So far this season the Cameroon man has been sensational, arguably our player of the season alongside Vermaelen and Fabregas, but he may just need a reminder from the manager to re-emphasise the importance of positioning himself in the right place to provide our team with the solid base it needs to build from.
In a week when Arsene Wenger celebrated his 13th anniversary with the club he received from his players a performance that was remarkably true to his footballing philosophy. Despite the couple of soft goals conceded he will be thrilled with the attacking efforts by his team as well as the fact that six different players got their name on the scoresheet.
So far this season Arsenal’s home record has been nothing short of impeccable: three wins from three, fourteen goals scored and just three conceded. With Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham all dropping points we are now up to third on the table (assuming we win the game in hand) and if we maintain our superb form at home then it’s going to go a long way towards helping the boys build the sort of momentum required to challenge for the title.
There’s a long way to go of course but with the manager having an International Break to ponder our club’s start to the season, five wins from seven and an unparalleled goal difference of +14 indicates quite clearly that Arsenal have made a very decent start to the 2009/10 season.
Let’s just hope all of our boys come back from the break in one piece.
Have your say on Arsenal’s 6-2 win over Blackburn by leaving a comment.