Blackburn 1 v Arsenal 2

Theo Walcott and Andrey Arshavin scored for the second successive Premiership match as a strong Arsenal performance gave them a deserved 2-1 win against Blackburn. Mame Diouf scored for Rovers, but Arsenal played the type of game that they knew would be required at Ewood Park. Th win moves the Gunners to the top of the Premiership for a few hours at least.Worryingly for the Gunners however, Robin van Persie had to be substituted just after the half hour mark with an injured left ankle.

Traditional

Arsenal started brightly amid the early Lancashire gloom, getting into their pass and move game that Rovers were expecting. The Gunners in turn were expecting a lot of the physical stuff which is Blackburn’s traditional style, but with Alex Song and Abou Diaby in midfield and Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny making themselves strong in the tackle, Arsenal were to show they arrived ready for anything thrown at them.

Let fly

Diaby saw an early chance blocked off the line and the returning Cesc Fabregas cleared off his line as Rovers aerial bombardment commenced. Arsenal took the lead on 20 minutes. Van Persie’s clever pass found Walcott racing away on the right, and he let fly with a low crisp shot that was too good for Paul Robinson. Song with a strange looking grey/blonde hairdo was proving a welcome return to the Gunners midfield, but Fabregas struggled early on to really impose his talents on the game.

Stronger

Seven minutes after going behind, Rovers levelled. El Hadj Diouf’s pace took hime away from Koscielny and with Manuel Almunia committed, squared for his namesake to slot home. Kosceielny has expressed the need to get stronger, (he will have to) and this defensive lapse will be a wake-up call of how you can get exposed in the Premiership, and the France born player will not want to see that goal too many times.

Commanding

The Gunners emerged in determined mood for the second half and six minutes in, re-took the lead. Bacary Sagna was having a commanding afternoon in defence, but as the France player surged forward, Fabregas took on a shot that was deflected into the path of Arshavin to give Arsenal a lead that they were not to relinquish.

Height

Fabregas seemed to finally re-discover the form of last season, orchestrating from midfield as Rovers struggled to get hold of the ball.Substitute Marouane Chamakh’s height was proving too much for the home side when they attacked, and the Morrocco player nearly grabbed his second goal of the season from Fabregas’ through ball.

Diaby determination

Arsenal’s midfield looked comfortable with Diaby showing great energy and determination – he was everywhere. His cross field 60 yard pass to Arshavin should have been despatched by the Russian, but flew high. On came Tomas Rosicky for Fabregas as the Gunners’ captain began to tire, and the Czech Republic player’s pass to Walcott was perfect for the England man, but his shot went straight at Robinson. The same combination created another opening, but this time the on fire Walcott fired just wide. With Fabio Capello watching Walcott was giving the Rovers’ defence a torrid time with Gael Givet shown a yellow card for holding on as he sped past.

Rovers had not given up, trying to force their way through and Almunia collected from David Dunn as the Gunners’ held firm. Blackburn went desperately in search of a leveller, but left gaps at the back that Rosicky – drilled over, and substitute Jack Wilshere – forced Robinson to save – as Arsenal finished strong to claim all the points.