Arsenal hammer Blackburn with six of the best

Arsenal 6 Blckburn 2
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The Independent Football

Arsenal fell behind twice before hitting back to beat Blackburn 6-2 on Sunday and stay just behind the leaders in the Premier League title race.

Although goals by Steven Nzonzi and David Dunn threatened an upset at the Emirates Stadium, the Gunners replied through Thomas Vermaelen, Robin van Persie and Andrei Arshavin before half time. Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner added three more in the second half for Arsenal's fifth victory in seven games. Walcott was making his first appearance of the season.

"I'm happy with all the team's performance," said Fabregas, who contributed to five of the six Arsenal goals. "You can always do better. It's just one more game in the race for the title."

Asked why he kissed the Arsenal badge on his shirt after his goal, the Spaniard said it was to underline his loyalty to the club.

"There's always some speculation that I don't really like to be here," he said. "I'm committed to this club 100 percent. It's my seventh season here. It's hard sometimes to hear that I'm not committed enough or something. It was a good time to show them that I really love this club."

The victory gives Arsenal 15 points with a game in hand on most of its rivals while Blackburn remains in the lower half of the standings.

This was Arsenal's first game since Arsene Wenger, who joined the Gunners in September 1996, became the club's longest serving manager. Barcelona striker Thierry Henry, who spent eight years under Wenger at Arsenal, was in the crowd to see this impressive fightback.

Rovers stunned the Arsenal fans by taking the lead through Nzonzi's looping header in the fourth minute from a long range free kick. It was the first goal Arsenal keeper Vito Mannone had conceded in 359 minutes.

Vermaelen equalized in the 16th minute with a low, left foot shot from the edge of the area but Blackburn regained the lead when David Dunn's shot took a deflection off William Gallas and beat the 'keeper at the near post.

Van Persie made it 2-2 with a low left foot shot and Arshavin scored the third with an angled shot from Fabregas' pass in the 37th minute. Fabregas scored Arsenal's fourth with a left footer from the edge of the area and Walcott, who had just entered the game, finished a well-worked move with a right footed shot in the 75th.

Bendtner added the sixth with a minute to go with a powerful 18-meter drive.

Stoke captured a point with a 1-1 draw away to Everton and West Ham scored an injury time equalizer to finish 2-2 at home against Fulham.

Robert Huth's 50th minute header gave Stoke the lead at Goodison Park where Leon Osman replied five minutes later.

Although Carlton Cole gave West Ham a 16th minute lead and Fulham had South African midfielder Kagisho Dikgucao sent off after a clash with Scott Parker at Upton Park, the 10-man visitors hit back with Danny Murphy's 47th minute penalty and a goal by Zoltan Gera.

But substitute Junior Stanislas made it 2-2 in the second minute of injury time with a deflected shot.

On Saturday, Manchester United needed an injury time equalizer to salvage a 2-2 draw with Sunderland at Old Trafford and last place Portsmouth finally ended its seven-game losing run with a 1-0 victory at Wolves.

Elsewhere, Burnley beat Birmingham 2-1, Hull edged Wigan 2-1 and Tottenham was held 2-2 at Bolton.