Arsenal continued its winning ways with another scintillating, free-flowing performance in defeating Blackburn 6-2 on Sunday at Emirates Stadium.
Six different Gunners scored on a day when Arsenal twice came from behind to overtake Sam Allardyce’s side. But it was Cesc Fabregas who played the starring role, as the team’s captain assisted on four Arsenal goals while also hitting the back of the net once himself in a dominating performance.
Things didn’t start so well for Arsenal in this Premiership match, as Blackburn opened the scoring in the fourth minute. Steven Nzonzi headed the visitors in front off of a long free kick from just beyond the center circle.
Yet the home side didn’t panic and began creating chances straight away, with the equalizer coming just after the quarter hour. Thomas Vermaelen’s left-footed strike from more than twenty yards out was a goal more worthy of a forward than a central defender, but Arsenal fans are beginning to expect such efforts from the Belgian, who remains the club’s top scorer so far this season.
The Gunners continued to attack, with chances for Fabregas and Robin van Persie kept out by keeper Paul Robinson. And on a counter attack in the 31st minute, Blackburn took the lead again when David Dunn’s shot deflected off William Gallas and into Vito Mannone’s goal.
Arsenal only needed two minutes to level things again, as Fabregas slotted a perfect through ball into the left-side channel for van Persie, who fired past Robinson into the far corner for the equalizer.
A similar goal eight minutes before the break saw Fabregas feed Andrey Arshavin for a left-footed shot that beat the Blackburn keeper, giving Arsenal the 3-2 lead after an entertaining first half.
Dunn could have been awarded a penalty in the opening minutes of the second half, but luck turned against him this time after receiving the fortunate bounce for his goal earlier in the game.
And after Mannone saved a Martin Olsson volley, the Gunners began to again dominate possession and opportunities on goal. After van Persie almost scrambled one home from close range, Fabregas got his goal shortly after, lofting his own left-footed shot past Robinson to give the home side a two-goal cushion after 57 minutes.
Tomas Rosicky and Adou Diaby soon had chances to extend the lead but their attempts were denied by Robinson, who had a number of fine saves on the day. With Blackburn now having to make some forays forward, the Gunners had numerous chances to build on their league-leading goal tally.
Theo Walcott came on to replace Rosicky in the 70th minute, and the substitute who was seeing his first action of the season scored Arsenal’s fifth goal. In a match of brilliant goals, this might have been the best; coming off a counter attack that saw Arshavin center a pass for Fabregas, who laid off beautifully for the England winger to slot home with a first-time touch.
Playmakers Fabregas and Arshavin then came off, but Arsenal’s chances on goal did not. Walcott had a shot cleared off the line, before fellow sub Nicklas Bendtner scored his own belter of a goal, rocketing home a shot from distance after collecting the ball on the left wing.
So, six goals from six different players resulted in Arsenal’s sixth win in the team’s last six matches (in all competitions). And it all came in front of the club’s greatest-ever goalscorer, as former Gunner Thierry Henry was in the stands on Sunday.
“Thierry inspired today our goalscoring, because they wanted certainly to show Thierry they can score goals and they are good followers of him,” said Arsene Wenger in his post-match comments. “We are happy to have him with us. He would have scored today certainly.”
The mantle of team leader at the Emirates has moved from Henry to Fabregas, and the Spaniard’s play impressed his manager. “We know that in every game he creates chances,” stated Wenger in an interview featured on http://www.arsenal.com. “What is important for him – what he misses – is to score goals and today he scored as well so that’s a relief for him certainly.
“When we go forward as a whole team we always look like we could score and when you look he is always in the middle of it, at the start or at the end,” continued the Frenchman. “A team goes always naturally through its strong points, the way of the game. So it goes, therefore, through Fabregas.”