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Page last updated at 16:03 GMT, Saturday, 13 September 2008 17:03 UK

Blackburn 0-4 Arsenal

By Sam Lyon

Arsenal celebrate
Walcott celebrates Arsenal's opener with goalscorer Van Persie (right)

Emmanuel Adebayor scored a hat-trick as Arsenal strolled to a comfortable victory over Blackburn at Ewood Park.

The Togo striker benefited from a fine Gunners passing display, aided by an impressive showing from Theo Walcott, who set up Robin van Persie's opener.

Roque Santa Cruz was wayward with the hosts' best chances before Adebayor headed in Denilson's cross unmarked.

He made it three from the spot after Emmanuel Eboue had been felled, and rounded the keeper to wrap up the win.

Despite Rovers' endeavour, it was a scoreline that did little to flatter the Gunners, who now have three wins from their first four games.

Rovers should learn from Gunners - Ince

And while the defeat will do little to enhance Blackburn boss Paul Ince's profile as he continues to be linked with the vacant manager's position at Newcastle, the signs were there again at Ewood Park that England hero Walcott is finally starting to realise his huge potential.

The winger dazzled against Croatia with a hat-trick in midweek, and he was quick to replicate that form on eight minutes, drifting in from the left, beating three players, and then slipping a pinpoint pass to Van Persie, who took a touch and clipped home.

Soon after Walcott should have scored himself, but a three-on-one break from the visitors ended with the 19-year-old curling high and wide with just keeper Paul Robinson to beat.

Walcott was again involved on the half hour in a fine Gunners move that Van Persie should have done better to finish, the Dutchman firing into the side netting when free in the box.

It was a passing display so typical of Arsene Wenger's side, and it was no surprise when Adebayor made it two on the stroke of half time, the Togo international heading home unmarked from Denilson's cross.

606: DEBATE
Arsenal 2008/09
However, as fluent as the visitors were in attack, they were almost as vulnerable at the back early on and Santa Cruz twice could have drawn Rovers level before Adebayor's first goal.

First the Paraguayan blazed over from 12 yards with Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia stranded, and then he headed over a brilliant Brett Emerton cross.

Emerton was at the heart of most of Blackburn's best attacking play, and the Australian carved out another chance when he beat Gael Clichy on the right, only for his cross to just evade Keith Andrews' driving run.

Still, the hosts were fortunate to keep the score down to two as Arsenal burst out of the blocks in the second half, with Walcott again centre stage as Rovers struggled to cope.

Robinson had to be at his sharpest to beat away a firm drive from the youngster, and the keeper then pulled off a superb double save in the space of a minute, beating away Eboue's drive after denying Kolo Toure from six yards out following a corner.

Wenger delighted with 'clinical' Gunners

With Arsenal cruising, Wenger took the opportunity to remove Walcott and rest him ahead of Wednesday's Champions League tie in Dynamo Kiev.

Blackburn probed away without creating a clear-cut chance but Arsenal always looked a threat on the break - and so it proved on 80 minutes when Eboue's run was brought to an end by Stephen Warnock's sliding tackle in the box.

Replays suggested the midfielder had gone over Warnock's challenge rather theatrically, but Adebayor showed no mercy as he side-footed home the spot-kick with aplomb.

There was still time for the Togo frontman to complete his hat-trick, Adebayor dashing onto debutant Aaron Ramsey's through ball and rounding the keeper before poking home.


Blackburn manager Paul Ince:
"Up until half time, I thought it was close. We were creating chances and playing well but we fell asleep and Arsenal's goal on the stroke of half time killed us.

"When you play Arsenal you need to be switched on for every second and it's disappointing that we didn't do that. We didn't give ourselves a chance and the second half was hard work as a result.

"We need to stop leaking goals because we're doing alright at the other end, creating chances. The good thing is that we won't be playing Arsenal every week."

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger:
"It is always good when you're clinical and efficient and that's what we were today. We played well but, more importantly, we took our chances when they came.

"We've been doing that a lot recently and hopefully that bodes well. We have players all over the park who can score and, again, Walcott was outstanding for us.

"It is always interesting at the top of the table and today's results show that this promises to be a very interesting Premier League again."


Blackburn: Robinson, Simpson (Derbyshire 73), Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Emerton, Reid, Andrews, Pedersen (Treacy 69), Roberts (McCarthy 69), Roque Santa Cruz.
Subs Not Used: Kerimoglu, Brown, Mokoena, Villanueva.

Booked: Warnock.

Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Eboue (Ramsey 82), Fabregas, Denilson, Walcott (Song Billong 64), Adebayor, Van Persie (Wilshere 84).
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Djourou, Bendtner, Gibbs.

Booked: Denilson.

Goals: Van Persie 8, Adebayor 45, 81 pen, 90.

Att: 23,041

Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Arsenal's Robin van Persie 8.31 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.




see also
Ince rules out job at Newcastle
13 Sep 08 |  Newcastle
Premier League as it happened
13 Sep 08 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
13 Sep 08 |  Football
How to watch Match of the Day
08 Oct 07 |  Match of the Day


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