Arsenal put the disappointment of the midweek 0-0 behind them with a 7-1 spanking of Blackburn Rovers at the Emirates this afternoon.
Arsene Wenger made just one change from the team that started against Bolton with Tomas Rosicky replacing Aaron Ramsey in midfield. And the Gunners made a great starting, scoring after just 80 seconds. Francis Coquelin played in Theo Walcott, his cross fizzed across goal and Robin van Persie scored his 100th league goal from close range. 1-0.
For the next half an hour Arsenal dominated possession without really creating much and didn’t look in any danger until Laurent Koscielny was penalised, and booked, for a foul just outside the D. Morten Gamst Pedersen’s free kick was first class, giving Wojciech Szczesny no chance. It was Blackburn’s first attempt on goal and a familar feeling for Arsenal. 1-1.
However, there was no feeling sorry for ourselves and we responded quickly and effectively. A great Alex Song pass used Walcott’s pace, he got to it inside the box and provided another assist for van Persie. 2-1.
Then the skipper turned creator, cutting open the Blackburn defence for Oxlaide-Chamberlain who rounded Paul Robinson before slotting home to make it 3-1.
Blackburn were then reduced to 10 men when Gael Givet was given a straight red card for a two footed tackle on van Persie. Only the fact the Dutchman jumped out of the way saved him from injury and Andre Marriner didn’t hesitate in showing the card.
The second half picked up where the first left off. When a 51st minute corner was headed away by Blackburn, it fell to Mikel Arteta who drilled it home to make it 4-1. Two minutes later and we had five. Theo Walcott ran into the Blackburn box, got a bit of luck as he overran it, passed it to Oxlade-Chamberlain who stepped inside the defender and finished at the near post to make it 5-1.
Robin van Persie then bagged his hat-trick when he smashed home a Francis Coquielin cross from the right hand side. 6-1.
It might have been a good time to bring on Ju Young Park but the manager clearly has little faith in the South Korean, instead sending on Henry and Sagna for Oxlade-Chamberlain and Koscielny, then replacing Song with Benayoun.
The game was drifting towards its inevitable conclusion when Arsenal got their seventh. Thierry Henry robbed Scott Dann in midfield. In the old days his pace would have seen him drive straight at goal but he passed to van Persie who gave it back to the old master. The finish might have taken a deflection but it nestled in the Blackburn net, with Paul Robinson looking dolefully on as yet another Arsenal goal went past him. 7-1.
In the end we just about managed to hang on to the lead. It was just what the doctor ordered. A good doctor, not Doctor Harold Shipman who usually fulfills our prescription.
A good win, three points, some feelgood factor returned, just what everybody needed. Fans, players and manager alike.