Arsenal showed how devastating they can be when they play to their potential with a determined, confident performance that reignites their chance of a top four finish.
This result shows that our recent run of poor performances and results are not just down to injuries. We still had no proper full backs with Coquelin deputising for Sagna and Vermaelen continuing on the opposite flank. Instead the problem has been a poor attitude, lack of desire and a complete loss of composure in front of goal.
Today those were all addressed — and then some. it seemed as though the stinging criticism that both the players and manager have received over the past month (coming to a head since the Bolton match) spurred the Gunners on. They started the game brimming with intent and highly motivated, getting off to the proverbial flier when Walcott’s perfect pass across goal allowed van Persie a tap in. How nice to see us performing straight from the first whistle.
Confidence up, we started to see the proper Arsenal — the Arsenal that has hidden away a lot this season, much to the frustration of supporters who were starting to become angry that they were not seeing the required effort and quality from a talented bunch who we all know are much better than 7th in the table.
Despite dominating the next half hour, Blackburn equalised with their first shot on goal when Pedersen curled in a free kick. ‘Bloody typical’ we all thought, but to the players’ credit they didn’t falter or get anxious and their continued attacking play was rewarded when van Persie tapped in another cut back from Walcott. Is Theo getting some form back? Let’s hope so.
Moments later Captain Fantastic showed how good his all-round game is when he played a superb through ball for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to run onto and score. AOC’s first touch knocked it into his path, his second around Robinson and his third into the net. A composed finish of real quality and one which looked so natural to him. Shame we can’t say the same about Theo more often.
You've done something right Theo --- hallelujah!
At 3-1 we looked very comfortable, but the afternoon got even easier when Givet launched into a two-footed challenge on RVP that he thankfully jumped over just in time or our season would’ve finished there and then. Givet saw red, van Persie eventually got up and the second half became a stroll.
I thought we’d settle for 3-1 but was pleasantly surprised that the side looked hungry for more. We used to hit teams for six or seven quite often but it’s been a while since the last time, so I’m delighted we showed a ruthless streak I feared was not there.
The Ox epitomised this with his direct running, ripping the bedraggled Blackburn defence to shreds. He can go both ways past his man, is strong, fast, can see a pass and is cool in front of goal, which he showed when he controlled Walcott’s pass and slipped a shot inside the post.
Further strikes from Arteta and van Persie followed before Henry applied the icing in injury time, even forcing a smile from his under-pressure mentor on the sidelines.
So a great win and a huge boost to our goal difference. It must be noted though that Blackburn threw in the towel at the break because they were woeful after halftime. Nevertheless, we played some nice stuff, took advantage of the extra man and it was a job very well done.
A quick glance at the fixture list shows we shouldn’t get too carried away though. Three tough away games — including Sunderland twice (probably) and AC Milan — followed by Spurs at home rounds off a tricky looking February. Let’s enjoy today and give the boys credit where its due, but the jury is out for a few games yet — a win over 10 man Blackburn does not wipe away all the ills of this season.
It may, however, be the lift we need and if the players show that kind of desire over the next few weeks then who knows — fingers crossed. So here’s to a Chelsea loss tomorrow and, for the first time this year, a pleasant Match of the Day experience tonight.
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