Arsenal 6 Blackburn Rovers 2: Silva puts Arsenal on gold standard

Wenger's rampant raiders exorcise the curse of Emirates with first six-goal show of season

Fears that Sherlock Holmes and his Meerschaum might be needed to address The Strange Case of the Emirates Curse were vigorously exorcised as a late scoring flurry saw Arsenal pluck six goals for the first time this season. Having drawn five of their previous nine Premiership matches at their new home, Arsenal ran riot with three in the last five minutes of an exhilarating game to inflict embarrassment on a Blackburn side which was a touch harsh.

Midway through the second half, when Shabani Nonda's second goal cut Arsenal's lead to one, the home side wobbled. "At 3-2 we were a bit exposed" Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, admitted. "But I knew if we survived four or five minutes we'd come through it".

The emergence, when it arrived, was spectacular, stilling mounting criticism from the crowd. Arsenal's six-goal, five-star show underlined Wenger's pre-match assertion that "the team are really on the way up" and the manager, hailing a "spirited performance" correctly deemed the match "amazing to watch", adding with a smile: "It is never boring here."

Blackburn played their part in the most positive way, risking being torn apart on the counter-attack, which duly came to pass in those pulsating final minutes.

Against an Arsenal defence further re-jigged after an ankle injury kept out Emmanuel Eboué, Blackburn were unable to field their top scorer, Benni McCarthy, because of suspension. However, his stand-in, the Congolese Nonda on loan from Roma, was the architect of the early slap in the face which aroused all the worst fears of those edgy Arsenal fans.

With less than two minutes gone, Nonda's slick pass sent David Bentley clear on goal, only for the ex-Arsenal man to be brought down by Kolo Touré. Arsenal protested, of course, but only half-heartedly, at the prompt award of a penalty by Howard Webb, and Nonda dispatched the kick to Jens Lehmann's right.

Arsenal responded as if summoned by bugle blast, flooding forward with slick passing movements which generally had Cesc Fabregas at their heart, and were level by the 10th minute. Touré's header, from a left-side corner, was deflected on to and over the bar and Robin van Persie's second flag-kick, this time from the right, saw the captain, Gilberto Silva, apply a clean header.

Thus was the stage set out for a thriller. Lehmann needed to be at his impressive sharpest to deny the eager Bentley twice and to gather, at the second attempt, a swerving free-kick delivered by Morten Gamst Pedersen. But it was Arsenal who seized the advantage with two goals in four minutes.

Van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor made the running for Alexander Hleb to cut inside Andy Todd's challenge and beat Brad Friedel from an angle. As Blackburn attempted to come to terms with losing that early lead, they fell further behind, conceding a penalty when the captain, Lucas Neill, brought down Van Persie. It was the sort of foul, committed by a last defender, which has frequently been punished by a red card, so Neill was perhaps fortunate to escape with yellow. There was no escape from the kick, though, stroked home by Adebayor.

Blackburn could have fallen further behind early in the second half. Tomas Rosicky's shot looked a certainty for the net until it was headed up on to the bar and clear by Andre Ooijer.

Encouraged by the escape, Blackburn worried Arsenal for a while with their zeal, which brought a second goal for Nonda with just over 20 minutes left. Brett Emerton surged down the right and his deep cross was met with a diving header by the newly arrived substitute, Matt Derbyshire. Though the effort came back off the bar it fell kindly for Nonda to score with an overhead kick.

Things remained delicately poised, with Lehmann saving brilliantly from Pedersen, until that explosive finish. Van Persie started it with an angled left-foot shot after bamboozling Ooijer, and the genius of Fabregas laid on another for him, described as a collector's goal by Wenger.

As if Blackburn had not been punished enough, in added time a Fabregas shot was pushed out by Friedel straight to Mathieu Flamini - and their misery was complete.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
News
peopleWarning - contains a lot of swearing
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project