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?
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
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

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game