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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 August, 2004, 20:40 GMT 21:40 UK
Arsenal 3-0 Blackburn
Arsenal striker Thierry Henry
Henry scored one goal and made two
Inspired by Thierry Henry Arsenal beat Blackburn to set an all-time league record sequence of 43 unbeaten matches.

Blackburn had been the equal of Arsenal in the first half, but five minutes after the restart Dennis Bergkamp's clipped cross was steered in by Henry.

An Henry corner was headed goalwards by Gilberto, with the ball crossing the line after hitting Cesc Fabregas' knee.

Late on Henry unselfishly set up Jose Antonio Reyes enabling Arsenal to end Nottingham Forest's 26-year-old record.

The win also sent Arsene Wenger's side back to the top of the Premiership ahead of Chelsea on goal difference.

Arsenal never quite found the fluidity they had shown in their opening two games, a testament to Blackburn's gritty display in the opening half.

We want to improve and this record shows that we have become better from season to season
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

But the manner of the victory - secured more through perspiration rather than inspiration - also demonstrated why Arsenal have established a new record.

Having already scored nine goals in those opening two league games Arsenal were quick to settle into an attacking rhythm with Henry prominent, forcing a couple of saves from Brad Friedel.

Such was Arsenal's control of the game in those early stages Blackburn struggled to get out of their own half, but an adventurous run deep into Arsenal territory from of all people Craig Short, began to see the visitors come into the game.

Soon after the livewire Short, who scored on the opening day of the season, popped up in the box, volleying goalward and forcing Jens Lehmann to dive low to his left.

Arsenal found another gear and we seemed to lose a gear
Blackburn boss Graeme Souness

The ball broke to Dickov who turned the ball into the box for Jonathan Stead, though he was crowded out by a posse of Arsenal defenders.

Encouraged by that attack Blackburn began to commit more men foward, a strategy that produced a period of sustained pressure, with Lehmann having to get down quickly to save a shot from Dickov.

As the first half drew to a close Arsenal rediscovered some of their attacking impetus and Fabregas shot narrowly wide and then another effort from the young Spaniard was accidentally diverted over the bar by Pires.

In the 50th minute Arsenal went ahead as Henry stole in between Short and Lucas Neill to convert Bergkamp's clipped cross.

Eight minutes later a corner from Henry was met by a powerful Gilberto header, with the ball touching Fabregas' knee on the way into the net.

In the closing stages Henry broke clear of the Blackburn defence.

Freidel managed to save Henry's shot, but the ball broke to the French striker, who passed to Reyes.

With the goal at his mercy the Spain international made no mistake with his shot.


Arsenal: Lehmann, Lauren, Toure, Cygan, Cole, Pennant (Ljungberg 77), Silva, Fabregas Soler (Flamini 86), Pires, Bergkamp (Reyes 77), Henry.
Subs Not Used: Hoyte, Almunia.

Booked: Henry, Fabregas Soler.

Goals: Henry 50, Silva 58, Reyes 79.

Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Short, Gray, Gresko, Emerton, Tugay (De Pedro 77), Johansson, Matteo, Dickov, Stead (Yorke 63).
Subs Not Used: Amoruso, Flitcroft, Enckelman.

Booked: Emerton, Neill, Short, Matteo.

Att: 37,496

Ref: N Barry (N Lincolnshire).





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