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Tuesday, April 14, 1998 Published at 06:26 GMT 07:26 UK



Sport: Football

Four-goal Gunners close on Man Utd
image: [ Kevin Gallacher scored Blackburn's consolation goal ]
Kevin Gallacher scored Blackburn's consolation goal

Arsenal tore Blackburn to shreds, storming to a 4-1 win in the snow to move to within a point of leaders Manchester United.


BBC 5 Live's Alan Green on the Arsenal victory (51")
It was a fantastic performance by Arsene Wenger's side, sending shockwaves across Old Trafford.

The Gunners now have two games in hand to move into top spot and judging by Monday night's display at Ewood Park that will be a formality.


[ image: Ray Parlour was on target twice for the Gunners]
Ray Parlour was on target twice for the Gunners
The FA Cup finalists showed no sign of nerves or fatigue. Classy passing moves were complimented by deadly finishing in a four-goal first-half rout.

Rovers were never in it. Dennis Bergkamp, back after a three-game ban, put Arsenal ahead after 75 seconds, firing his 20th goal of the season past Alan Fettis with his right foot from the edge of the area.

It was two five minutes later. Ray Parlour dashed into space between two defenders, collected a one-two from Bergkamp and lashed a shot into the corner.

Parlour got the third on the quarter-hour mark, slamming a loose ball first time into the roof of the net after Fettis failed to hold Bergkamp's 20-yard drive.

Nicolas Anelka made it four three minutes before the interval, streaking clear from the half-way line to collect a long Nigel Winterburn pass and taking the ball round Fettis for a class finish.

Dutchman Marc Overmars missed a good chance of scoring Arsenal's fifth, shooting tamely with a good sight of goal.

Blackburn's task looked hopeless but they came out fighting in the second half and in the middle of a snowstorm Kevin Gallacher volleyed one back after 51 minutes.

Gallacher was then furious when the referee waved play on after he fell in the Arsenal area under a challenge from Emmanuel Petit.

But Arsenal, beaten 3-1 by Blackburn at Highbury in December, weathered the storm and ended the game back on the attack, Bergkamp missing a great chance for a fifth, firing high over the bar.

Wenger praised his team but was cautious about the chances of winning the championship.

"It was one of those days when everything goes for you," he said. "But we've known for a long time it's in our hands. It's better to be favourites than not to have a chance at all."

Parlour added: "We came here confident. We've been playing well lately. But we'll take one game at a time. There are a lot of points to be played for."
 





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