Arsenal 7 Blackburn Rovers 1

Robin Van Persie struck a memorable treble that saw Arsenal crush ten man Blackburn Rovers at the Emirates. The Holland striker has now netted 22 times in the Premiership, and scoring his first two Premiership goals, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain showed once again that he is a force not to be ignored. Mikel Arteta and substitute Thierry Henry got on the scoresheet in a game that saw Gael Givet shown a straight red card two minutes before the break for a two footed studs up lunge on Van Persie. Morten Gamst Pedersen briefly restored parity for Rovers just past the half hour mark, but a rampant Arsenal were never going to be held back.

Perfection

It was Arsenal’s first Premiership win of 2012, and despite the previous indifferent form, the 7-1 scoreline was always in this side, and well worth waiting for. There were a mere 90 seconds on the clock when Arsenal took the lead. Francis Coquelin found Theo Walcott out on the right, and his first time cross eluded all but Van Persie to hit into the empty net. It was a move crafted to perfection, and one which would provide further dividends for the deadly duo. Rovers were stunned, but despite overwhelming possession, chances to Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky and a exquisite Van Persie chip could not double the Gunners’ advantage. In fact with their only assault of the half, Pedersen struck a fierce free-kick beyond the outstretched dive of Wojciech Szczesny to stun the home crowd. Four minutes later however and the Gunners took the lead again, but this time they would not relinquish it.

Determined

Coquelin raced away from deep and found Alex Song. The Cameroon midfielder hit a slid rule pass that spilt the Rovers defence for Walcott to then cross for Van Persie with the same deadly end result. Five minutes before the break, Arsenal struck again. Van Persie held the ball up and instinctively found Oxlade-Chamberlain racing away. Paul Robinson raced off his line, but the power and skill of Arsenal’s 18 year old took him clear to find the net from a tight angle. Rovers were determined to try to play their way out of trouble, but found their task all the more difficult when Givet was given his marching orders three minutes before the break. The Rovers defender was in full flight, a two footed and studs up on Van Persie’s ankle, and referee Andre Marriner was left with no other option but to red card him.

Mesmerising

Five minutes after the re-start and the Gunners goal machine cranked up another gear. Van Persie’s corner was not cleared, and the ball fell for Arteta to rifle in for a 4-1 scoreline. It was excellent stuff and free flowing football of the highest order. Walcott has been much maligned of late, but his game seems to have come on with Oxlade-Chamberlain on the other flank. Walcott deserved a goal after another mesmerising run, skipping past Rovers’ defenders as if they weren’t there. His unselfish pass to his 18 year old team mate who side stepped his marker to see Arsenal get a fifth goal with the main portion of the second half still to play.

Van Persie treble

More clever football and Gunners’ pressure deserved another goal, but Arteta’s strike from a tight angle just flew over Robinson’s bar after this time Oxlade-Chamberlain caused havoc at pace in the Rovers’ half. The former Southampton player started the move for an Arsenal sixth. His deep cross field pass found the advanced Coquelin who fed Van Persie for a first time strike that flew past Robinson for a memorable treble. If Oxlade-Chamberlain is the future of the Gunners, Arsenal’s seventh goal came from a legend of the past. Playing in possibly his last game at the Emirates before his return to New York Red Bulls, Henry was greeted with rapturous applause for his introduction in place of Oxlade-Chamberlain on 65 minutes. Rosicky threatened with a run that only came to an end with a tackle in the area from Scott Dann. The Czech Republic captain says he is happy to continue in north London and his game has gone up a few gears in the process.

Hero Henry

The dream ending to a perfect day for Arsenal fans arrived in time added on. Henry had already seen his curled effort go wide, but when the France striker robbed substitute Grant Hanley, he fed the alert Van Persie. The Gunners’ hatrick hero hero returned the pass and Henry hit the target for a 7-1 scoreline that will work wonders for Arsene Wenger’s side and team spirit. With substitute Bacary Sagna playing at left back, Thomas Vermaelen was switched to his preferred central place, and should Kieran Gibbs return, a fully strengthened defence could be the key in the Gunners’ pursuit of that minimum fourth place Premiership finish.

Score like this, and that task could be all but guaranteed.