Van Persie runs amok as Rovers are crushed

Arsenal 7 Blackburn Rovers 1

The Emirates Stadium

There was talk of disillusioned Arsenal supporters bringing black rubbish bags to yesterday's game to illustrate their feelings about the club's current standing. None materialised, although they could always have been offered to Blackburn Rovers' followers. They must be tempted to purloin the idea rather than merely protesting further against their manager Steve Kean, for whom the word beleaguered is no longer adequate.

His team have more than once lost this fixture 6-2, a result surpassed here by Arsenal's biggest victory at the Emirates and Rovers' joint worst Premier League defeat anywhere. They were torn apart down the flanks, notably on the right where Francis Coquelin at full-back and Theo Walcott were excellent. Robin van Persie took advantage of the service to complete a second hat-trick of the season and the precocious Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added his first League goals.

Rovers lost Gaël Givet to a deserved red card just before half-time for the sort of two-footed tackle that is simply not permissable any more, the only creditable aspect of it being his apologies to the victim Van Persie and the Arsenal manager.The score at that point was already 3-1 and unluckily for Blackburn, the Dutchman was able to continue. Worse, Wenger demonstrated a heartless streak in leaving his captain on the full 90 minutes as well as sending on as substitute a promising loanee called Thierry Henry, who claimed the seventh goal just as the visitors looked capable of lasting out the final half-hour without conceding.

Although Wenger claimed that a dominant performance was more important than a record score, goal difference is important to both clubs in their respective aims at opposite ends of the table. Arsenal doubled theirs in the space of 90 minutes and Blackburn could have done without fellow-strugglers Wolves later beating Queens Park Rangers, their next opponents.

In September Wenger was furious after his team somehow contrived to lose 4-3 at Blackburn in the next away game after the 8-2 humiliation at Old Trafford. Yesterday he exuded bonhomie after a first League win of 2012. "Recently we had quite good performances without always getting the result," he said. "I don't feel we played badly at Fulham or Swansea or in the second half against Manchester United but we couldn't get the result and it affects your belief."

Just as Blackburn start to believe, sometimes scoring three or four goals, they are knocked back again and if they continue to defend like this there will be more trouble ahead. It would seem essential to have the powerful but disenchanted Chris Samba back, though there's no sign of it. "Van Persie is fantastic but the service in to him was too easy," Kean said. "It's the first time this season we've really been turned over and many times after a disappointing result we've always had a reaction. I feel for the fans today because we've let them down."

Givet did so with his reckless lunge at Van Persie, which his manager admitted gave the referee little choice but to dismiss him. Frustration at having conceded two goals in three minutes just beforehand after Blackburn had scored an unlikely equaliser was the only possible excuse. Van Persie had scored the first after only 82 seconds, cleverly drifting behind Scott Dann at the far post to meet Walcott's cross for a tap-in.

It was an entirely unexpected development when Laurent Koscielny clumsily dragged down Anthony Modeste just outside the penalty area, offering Morten Gamst Pedersen the opportunity to curl a delicious free-kick into the top corner of the net.

Only five minutes later after Jason Lowe was forced off injured, a lovelyflowing move right from the back ended with Alex Song finding Walcott, who supplied Van Persie's second goal. In the next attack, Oxlade-Chamberlain scored his first Premier League goal. Strong, quick and clever, he could soon be challenging for Walcott's England place, though Wenger said Fabio Capello has not yet spoken to him, having "other problems at the moment".

Givet's red card meant sacrificing David Dunn, which was hardly ideal. There could have been a fourth for Arsenal before half-time, Thomas Vermaelen clipping the outside of a post, but there was not long to wait. Mikel Arteta drove in from 20 yards, Oxlade-Chamberlain was set up by Walcott and Van Persie converted Coquelin's cross; all this after little more than an hour. Blackburn almost held out without further damage but Henry denied them in the last minute in what is due to be his final home game before returning to New York.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Coquelin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen; Song, Arteta; Walcott, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Van Persie.

Blackburn (4-4-1-1): Robinson; Lowe, Dann, Givet, Martin Olsson; Pedersen, Petrovic, Nzonzi, Hoilett; Dunn; Modeste.

Man of the match: Walcott (Arsenal)

Referee: Andre Marriner

Match rating: 7/10

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballStriker in talks over £17m move from Manchester United
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
News
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
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

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor