Well, we kind of had an idea that Arsenal were playing well but not getting the results. It was a matter of details according to Arteta, Wenger, and others. It all came good in this one as Blackburn were the hapless victims of a rampant Arsenal side.
Chance conversion was another issue which was put to bed, at least temporarily, with 7 out of 8 shot on target registering on the scoreboard. Benayoun was the only one who missed out as his hopeful half-volley went straight to Arsenal’s favourite opposition goalkeeper. A couple of deflections also helped the cause.
On the whole this was an easy game. And for once the Gunners didn’t make it into a difficult one although the opening 30-35 minutes were a bit edgy.
The hosts got an early lead after a quick pass from Coquelin found Walcott in behind on the right. The Englishman squared it for the first of his three assists, Van Persie tapped it in for the first of his hat-trick.
After the goal Arsenal didn’t really get into the danger areas often enough. There was a shot from distance by Rosicky and a couple of corners that led to half-chances but Robinson wasn’t very busy. One could still sense a degree of hesitancy about the Gunners’ movement and decision making. Old problems of penetrating a parked bus were coming to the fore again.
Things took a turn for the worse just after the half-hour mark when Koscielny fouled Modeste just outside the box. Pedersen converted the chance with a brilliantly placed strike but Szczesny should have done better after getting a hand on the ball.
Interestingly, the goal worked in Arsenal’s favour as Blackburn gained some confidence. The visitors pushed forward with newfound belief and this opened space up for Wenger’s midfield and wide players.
Arsenal raised the tempo after going down and reaped the benefits in three first half minutes. First it was Song who played it through for Theo. The winger picked his second assist on the stretch, with Van Persie again displaying excellent poaching instincts. Soon after it was the turn of De Kapitein to turn provider as his sensational through-ball found the run of Oxlade-Chamberlain. The youngster rounded the Keeper and found the back of the net with aplomb.
Blackburn were rattled and confused. Staying deep after scoring the equalizer might have worked for them but now they really were out of ideas. Givet dived in two-footed on Van Persie highlighting the state of disorder more than any sense of malice. Steve Kean’s side had no chance after they went down to ten men.
Arsenal scored the fourth from a corner, with Arteta hammering it home from the edge of the box. It left me wondering why Arsenal didn’t have a man in that area more often as we regularly see opponents only half-clearing the first ball.
Oxlade-Chamberlain got the fifth, with another composed finish, that was created by a jinking run by Theo, who also showed he can think when running with the ball! Van Persie completed his hat-trick when he received another square ball from the Right, this time from Coquelin who beat the defender with a nifty piece of skill.
After scoring the all important goal against Leeds, Henry’s second of this loan spell was more of a fortuitous token goal that went in off the defender in the last minute. That Van Persie was still sprinting and looking to create after scoring a hat-trick and the match completely settled, shows why he is the perfect role model and leader for younger players and fans alike.
This game was a real pleasure to watch and came at the right time to lift sagging Gooner spirits but too much shouldn’t be read into a big score. Consistent as ever, Arsene restrained from making any jibes at detractors and was completely clear that the number of goals should not be taken too seriously
I do not give much importance to the seven goals, it is just important we won and played well.
Yes, the goal difference could be a factor so the goals will come in handy but the number of goals scored is a minor issue when analyzing the game. Sometimes a team doesn’t win despite creating numerous chances, as we saw against Bolton, and on other occasions they might absolute spank the opposition when everything goes in. It’s important to get consistency that ensures more chances lead to more results rather than an equal balance of scoreless games and hefty scorelines.
Szczesny: It was a well-taken free-kick but Szczesny should probably have done better. Was also shaky against the long ball on an occasion or two. Had only one other save to make and the odd catch or collecting job.
Coquelin: Very impressive effort from the youngster. Wasn’t troubled by the pace or skills of Hoilett, won a vast majority of his tackles and duels, linked up well with Theo, pre-assist for the first goal showed awareness and technique, assist for the sixth showed skill to beat a man and ability to find his striker, high passing accuracy and involvement as well.
Mertesacker: Made a couple of vital clearances and a good block when Dunn had a clear sight of goal from distance. Joint highest passing accuracy, good composure, and was generally in control of the situation at the back.
Koscielny: Was dominant at the back and won most of his tackles/duels. Stats say 2/2 on tackles, 6/7 on Ground Duels and 4/4 on aerial ones. But he also struggled a bit against the physical striker. For instance, the foul conceded for the goal was a moment when he was trying to nick the ball but Modeste was strong and was able to shield it well enough to draw the error.
Vermaelen: Has been doing well on the left and had another fairly solid game. Blackburn didn’t have any real creative threat from the Right so it was a relatively easier game for the Belgian.
The back five were dominant in most instances as the visitors couldn’t get enough bodies forward. They also played their part in the goals as many of the moves started from the back.
Song: Much improved from his effort at Bolton. Passing quality was back to its usual high level and made the most passes in the final third. That showed how high up the pitch Arsenal were able to play. Crucial pre-assist for the second goal.
Rosicky: He had a decent game but not as good as some might think. Was the second lowest in pass accuracy among the starting eleven, just in front of RvP. Was often a yard behind the play and a number of his touches weren’t very effective. Lost possession joint highest 19 times which showed it’s difficult for anyone in an advanced role. But he also played a vital part in the build-up of at least three goals with quick thinking and execution.
Arteta: Efficiency personified once again. Most touches, most passes, joint highest accuracy. Scored a good goal from the edge of the box. Did well to bring the ball out of defence under pressure. His one-touch pass helped Arsenal bypass the high pressing in the build-up to the second goal.
The midfield completely controlled this game. They had a tough time penetrating the deep-lying defence in the opening half-hour but did very well once Blackburn came out and turned on the screws after the visitors were down to 10.
Walcott: Olsson is quick but he was beaten way too often by Theo’s pace and movement. Three very good assists. For the final one he resisted a couple of attempts to tackles him and was composed enough to find his teammate. More of this is needed in crunch situations.
RvP: Easily the MotM. Goals looked easy but he read the play well and finishing was flawless. First assist was exceptional, second – so late in the game – inspiring and memorable. Joint highest successful passes in the final third from a guy who also scored three!
Oxlade-Chamberlain: Very strong on the ball and in dribbles. Excellent technique and awareness for both goals. Also made a valuable contribution to the defence by winning the ball most often in the middle third.
The front three were clinical and ruthless. They did benefit from very poor defending so one must not read too much into this performance but it should be a good confidence boost and should bring some of the belief back.Follow @goonerdesi