An Emanuel Adebayor hat-trick was enough for Arsenal to close out their weekend premiership clash against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park giving the Gunners their first away victory of the season. Having lost to Fulham in their first away game Arsene Wenger’s men showed that they will be a handful this season by dismantling the home team with their trademark short-passing game.
Samir Nasri was missing from Arsenal’s starting line-up with a side-strain. Wenger will be hoping he is fit for the midweek Champions League fixture against Dynamo Kiev. The Gunners still looked a potent enough unit to brush away a Rovers team which has so far made a stuttering start to their league campaign.
The game began brightly with both teams taking the attack to each other. Roque Santa Cruz missed a good opportunity to help Rovers take the lead by heading wide. Theo Walcott, coming off the hat-trick against Croatia in the world-cup qualifiers, was sky-high on confidence and it showed as it was his speed and skill that set up Arsenal’s first goal. Receiving a pass from Adebayor on the left wing, Walcott dodged four opponent players and provided a splendid ball to van Persie who finished off the move impeccably, slotting the ball past Robinson into the bottom left corner of the goal. Blackburn did try to force the issue but could never seriously trouble Almunia who made a couple of comfortable saves.
Even though Arsenal did not reach the same dizzy heights of passing which was visible at the Emirates a fortnight ago against Newcastle, they never really allowed Blackburn into the game. If Blackburn had managed to score in the first half the tempo of the game may well have changed. Any such thoughts were shut out in the closing minutes of the first half when Adebayor put away a free header into the Blackburn goal to put Arsenal 2-0 up at the halfway mark.
The second half did not include any surprises as the Gunners tried to consolidate their position. The game didn’t have the spark that one might have desired but it was clearly evident that only one team was going to take home three points. Paul Ince seemed to be short of ideas as nothing about the home team’s second half display would have sent shivers down Arsene Wenger’s spine. There has also been a lot of speculation linking Ince to the manager’s job at Newcastle, but with this being Ince’s first managerial experience in the English top flight, that idea might be too far-fetched.
Coming back to the game, Arsenal were in no mood to let Rovers off the hook and it was only a matter of time before Adebayor got his second, running around Robinson and slotting the ball into the open net. A foul on Eboue in the area a few minutes later meant a penalty for Arsenal which Adebayor duly converted to complete his hat-trick. Eboue was stretchered off the field with what seemed to be an ankle injury. The game was well and truly over by this time and Arsene Wenger threw a couple of his younger players on to the field. Aaron Ramsey did provide evidence of his skill and more opportunities will make him a stronger player.
So it finished up 4-0 to Arsenal which put them in second behind Liverpool in the standings. Consistency will be the watchword for Wenger and his brigade this season after the disappointing end to the last league campaign.