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BBC Sport's Mike Ingham reports
"This game was all over in the first five minutes"
 real 14k

Arsenal's Ashley Cole
"We've been playing well in recent games"
 real 14k

Blackburn's Graeme Souness
"We were a bit naive, but we knew it was going to be a tough game"
 real 56k

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger
"We had a good start"
 real 56k

banner Saturday, 10 March, 2001, 17:09 GMT
Gunners blitz stuns Blackburn
Luzhny, Adams and Cole celebrate
Adams is congratulated on his goal
Arsenal 3-0 Blackburn

Arsenal virtually secured their place in the FA Cup semi-finals within five minutes of the kick-off in the match with Blackburn.

Goals from Sylvain Wiltord and Tony Adams almost ensured Blackburn would not progress beyond the quarter-finals, a feat they last managed in 1960.

And when Robert Pires added a third, the contest was over, with Blackburn left to play only for pride.

  Key incidents
2 mins: Sylvain Wiltord fires arsenal in front
5 mins: Tony Adams rises at the back post to head Arsenal's second
36 mins: Pires makes it three with a sweetly struck volley
58 mins: Jason McAteer's goal disallowed for handball

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, with one eye on the Gunners' Champions League match against Bayern Munich on Wednesday, rested Patrick Vieira and top-scorer Thierry Henry.

But if Blackburn had felt relief at seeing the two French, World Cup winners on the bench, it would not have lasted long.

After just 74 seconds Arsenal went ahead, as Wiltord continued his record of scoring in every round of the Cup this season.

We made it look easy in the end
  Dennis Bergkamp

Pires found the striker in space and Wiltord hit a crisp, low drive into the bottom right corner of the goal.

And Blackburn, still recovering from the shock and perhaps reflecting on Marcus Bent's headed chance before Arsenal's strike, were caught cold again four minutes later.


Ashley Cole's corner was converted by Adams, who rose at the far post to head Arsenal's second.

Blackburn looked stunned, but tried to gather themselves and began to string a few passes together.

But Arsenal were comfortably in control and there seemed no way through for the Blackburn attack.

Robert Pires
Pires hits Arsenal's third

And when Eyal Berkovic had a penalty appeal turned down, the result looked inevitable, the only consolation being that Dennis Bergkamp also had his penalty claim refused seconds later.

Then, ten minutes before half-time Pires put the tie beyond all doubt when he superbly pulled down Wiltord's cross before smashing a well-place volley beyond the hapless Brad Friedel.

After the interval, Arsenal relaxed their grip on the game but Blackburn could not take advantage and force their way back into the tie.

Jason McAteer did manage to put the ball into the Gunners' net, but the goal was ruled out for handball.

The decision did little to ease Blackburn's frustrations or raise their spirits.

Infact it motivated Arsenal to produce two good opportunities for Wiltord to add to his goal tally, but the striker could not convert the chances.

We got off to a bad start and were punished by some top quality finishing
  Graeme Souness

David Dunn had a chance to score a consolation for Blackburn, but David Seaman came off his line to block his effort, as nothing seemed to go right for Graeme Souness' side.

And late on, the unlucky Marcus Bent hit a scorching shot that cannoned off the Arsenal upright, perhaps summing up the visitors' day.

Blackburn lost this match before they had settled into it and must now concentrate on winning promotion from Division One.

Arsenal, though, will travel to Munich on Wednesday full of confidence after a clinical performance and will aim to repeat the result to keep their hopes alive of a cup double.

Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Adams, Cole, Grimandi, Luzhny, Ljungberg, Lauren, Pires, Bergkamp, Wiltord. Subs: Vieira, Manninger, Henry, Silvinho, Vivas.

Blackburn: Friedel, Curtis, Berg, Berkovic, Taylor, McAteer, Flitcroft, Dunn, Mahon, Hughes, Bent. Subs: Bjornebye, Hignett, Duff, Kelly, Jansen.

Referee: J Winter

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