Robin van Persie leads Gunners by example with a hat trick against Blackburn
Today’s match was all about the points. Both Arsenal and Blackburn unquestionably needed a win at Emirates Stadium and the three points that go along with it. Gaining three could make or break either teams’ season, but for very different reasons.
Blackburn have been stuck in the relegation zone most of the season. Any points could pull them out of the bottom three and give them some possible hope to remain in the top flight.
Arsenal, on the other hand, have been quickly dropping in the standings and are desperate to secure points. Prior to today’s match, there was a single point difference between the teams in 5th through 7th place, Arsenal being in 7th.
The Gunners have been all but written off as a top four finisher this season so points are absolutely critical. The club have continuously participated in the Champions League since the 1998-1999 season and that tradition needs to continue if they want to remain competitive within the premiership.
The match got off to a quick start. Only 80 seconds in, Robin van Persie opened up the scoring for Arsenal. Francis Coquelin, the young defender, sent a cute pass to Theo Walcott who flicked it on to an unmarked van Persie. The skipper made no mistake and shot one past the Blackburn keeper. Score 1-0.
In the 30th minute, a careless foul by Laurent Koscielny gave Blackburn a free kick opportunity from a dangerous position. Midfielder Morten Gamst struck a solid curving ball, which deflected off the hand of the Arsenal keeper, but still found the net. The match was tied one all.
It looked to be the start of a typical Arsenal match. The North London team scored an early goal combined with total domination of the field, possession and shots taken, but nothing to show for it at the 90th minute. Fortunately for Gunner fans such as myself, that was not to be the case today.
Arsenal came back with a goal in the 37th minute. One of my personal favorite players, Alex Song, fed a delicious through ball to Walcott inside the box but he was too wide. The winger crossed slightly back to RVP, who was five yards outside the goal line and again unmarked. He toed it in with ease and the Gunners found themselves up 2 goals to 1.
Only two minutes had passed when another Arsenal scoring opportunity presented itself. This time it was van Persie who made the assist with a perfect pass to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The young winger took an excellent first touch and made his second touch as he rounded the keeper. With great composure, he scored his first league goal ever and what a goal it was! Score 3-1.
Things were not going well for Blackburn in the first half and it didn’t get any better. Near the end of the half, their French defender Gael Givet, made a dodgy two-footed, studs up tackle on Robin van Persie. Fortunately the star striker was not injured but an immediate red card was given to Givet. At the half, the Rovers were now down by two goals and a man. Score 3-1
The second half was equally as exciting for Arsenal and their fans.
After a poor clearing of an RVP corner, Laurent Koscielny got his foot on the ball and it fell kindly to Mikel Arteta. The Spanish midfielder, acquired from Everton over the summer, fired a rocket past the Blackburn keeper, giving Arsenal a three goal lead only five minutes into the second period. Score 4-1.
Not quite three minutes later, a fifth Gunner goal came. Theo Walcott got the ball and dribbled it into the box, drawing most of the Rover defensive line with him. He looked like he wanted to score, which is very Theo-like, but he eyed Oxlade-Chamberlain, affectionately referred to as “the Ox”, who was open on the side. Walcott made the pass and with the composure of a seasoned player, the Ox netted the ball and finished with a celebratory dance. Most of those filling the seats at Emirates Stadium also joined in the celebration. But wait, wait! There’s more!
Another ten minutes passed before the next Gunner goal was scored. This time, it was assisted by the squad’s two very impressive young starters. The Ox made a long pass to Coquelin, who served the ball on a silver platter to Robin van Persie. The skipper could have scored blind folded, or at least he made it look that easy. A hat trick for van Persie continues to confirm his world-class status as a goal-scorer.
As if a 6-1 lead were not enough, this game ended with that cherry on top that truly makes it all the more satisfying.
In extra time, Thierry Henry, who was subbed in for the Ox, stole the ball from the Rovers in midfield. He played the ball to RVP on his right, who could have shot but unselfishly passed back to Henry. The Arsenal legend got off an on-target strike which deflected off the defender and into the goal.
Final score 7-1. Seven Arsenal goals!!
Ok, yes it was Blackburn. Yes, yes, it was Blackburn, I know. But still. The obvious gimme games, such as this one, are exactly what you can’t count on Arsenal to win. An early lead no longer offers that feeling of comfort from the driver’s seat as it once did. It is frustrating to be a Gunner fan, but on days like these, we are so grateful to celebrate an almost flawless performance even if it was against a ten-sided Blackburn team.
The goals scored today are also vital, especially as we are on the back-end of the season. Arsenal will need all the help they can get and a goal differential advantage could make the difference between a fourth or fifth place finish.
So thank you very much, Arsenal will happily take all three mouth-watering points. We will now watch the weekend matches to see how things shake out in the standings.
As for me and most of my Gooner compatriots, we will savor this victory and keep the faith. We still believe there is a chance to finish in the top four and we believe more games like these can be won against much better teams. We believe in Arsenal. COYG!