Sep 162008

Blackburn 0 Arsenal 4 (Van Persie 8, Adebayor 45, pen 81, 90)

Last season Derby’s defence were twice victims to Adebayor hattricks, and after a slow start to his Premiership campaign he managed another against a back line almost as poor. That isn’t a dig at our big striker – you can only score against those you play against – more a simple assessment of just how fast Blackburn are slipping. I’m no fan of Mark Hughes, but Blackburn were never this bad under him.

The first was created by man of the moment Walcott, who started in place of the injured Nasri and embarked on a jinking run, darting past three men, none of which even tried to put in a tackle, before slipping a pass to Van Persie, who made the most of ample space to coolly slot home. It was the sort of goal that some drool over but defensive minded pundits despair at.

Blackburn actually played okay in the first half, restricting us to some half chances, while looking quite threatening themselves. The latter was mainly due to some at times average defending, which against a better side may have been punished. There were also the usual crunching and illegal challenges, but that is so very Blackburn that it barely needs reporting.

Just before the interval, the killer second was scored, after a patient passing move ended in Denilson running down the left flank. Again, no-one closed him down and he had time to pick out a delicious cross which begged Adebayor to head home. The big man obliged.

It was after a first half in which Adebyaor had constantly strayed offside. His enthusiasm is great, and he is desperate to make those runs, but it is a little annoying to see him running full pelt towards the goal during a counter attack, offside all the way, and earlier in the half Van Persie was forced to shoot from a tight angle because he was offside in the middle. He can improve, which is I guess a good thing.

The second half was fairly processional, to be honest. Eboue flung himself down for a penalty, and remarkably got it while most of us were cringing. Going off on a stretcher didn’t convince many that he had a real injury, but looking at the replay his leg did jolt sharply on landing. Although he’d only have himself to blame, it would be a shame if he were badly hurt, as his form is currently as good as it has ever been.

It was then the tale of the kids, as first Ramsey and then Wilshere came on as late subs, the former setting up Adebayor’s third with a through ball, and the latter becoming the youngest player ever to play in the league for Arsenal. The future seems bright for both.

After the last away game, there was a lot of doom and gloom around Arsenal. Once again some clinical performances have got rid of the malaise. Often criticised for not taking chances, we finally did on Saturday and came away with a thumping 4-0 victory. It was an excellent start to a tricky week, with the next step in Kiev on Wednesday. Bring it on.

Apologies incidentally for the lack of posting recently, but there really has been practically nothing to talk about, so I’ve been having a break. There will be some reflection over the next couple of days.

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