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Barclays Premier League

Emirates Stadium (ATT 59,643) 4th February 2012 - Kick off 13:00 Ref: A Marriner

Arsenal Arsenal vs Blackburn Rovers Blackburn

Arsenal 7

R van Persie (2, 38, 62)
A Oxlade-Chamberlain (40, 54)
M Arteta (51)
T Henry (90+3)

ft

Blackburn 1

M Pedersen (31)
G Givet (S/O 43)

Live Commentary

Last Updated at 3:02 pm, February 4th 2012

  1. Thanks for joining me and I hope you enjoyed the game. Make sure you stay tuned to skysports.com for all of the post-match reaction.

  2. Arsenal 7 Blackburn 1. The Gunners ease to the most comfortable of victories. Van Persie was the star of the show as he netted a hat-trick and Arsene Wenger will be hoping that this result can reignite a top-four push. Blackburn, meanwhile, could be in all sorts of trouble.

  3. 90+4

    GOAL ARSENAL - HENRY. A fitting end to proceedings as Henry nets his first Premier League goal since returning to Arsenal. Hanley is caught on the ball and Henry exchanges passes with Van Persie before seeing a rolled effort flick off Dann and past Robinson.

  4. 90+3

    Van Persie unable to slide the ball into Benayoun. Arsenal still looking for more even at this late stage.

  5. 90+2

    Benayoun looking to add a seventh for Arsenal. He does well to bring a difficult ball down on his chest and drill a volley into the chest of Robinson.

  6. 90+1

    Blackburn's first corner of the afternoon comes in second half stoppage-time, and they make nothing of it. Szczesny has barely had a save to make today.

  7. Four minutes of stoppage time to be played.

  8. 90

    Blackburn offering very little to proceedings now. They just want to get out of North London and back home.

  9. 89

    Rare slack pass from Arteta. He had Walcott breaking in behind Olsson and only needed to roll the ball into his path. He over hits the pass by some distance.

  10. 88

    Pedersen feeds the ball into Modeste's feet. His first touch is poor and the ball runs away from him. Sums up Blackburn's afternoon.

  11. 87

    Heavy touch from Rosicky prevents him from driving at the heart of the Blackburn defence. Despite pulling numbers back, Rovers continue to leave gaping holes in the middle of the park.

  12. 86

    Van Persie collides with Hanley inside the box and goes to ground. Andre Marriner says it was a 50-50 challenge and waves the Arsenal skipper to his feet.

  13. 85

    Vermaelen is booked for coming through the back of Modeste.

  14. 84

    Henry spins on the edge of the box and sends a curling effort towards the bottom corner. His radar is slightly off as the ball skids wide of the upright.

  15. 83

    Walcott lobs the ball in the direction of Henry. His cross has too much air on it and comes down onto the head of Hanley. Blackburn rocking badly again.

  16. 82

    Those who decided to stay away from the Emirates today will be cusring their luck. Any planned protests were forgotten the moment Van Persie started the Arsenal rout.

  17. 81

    Modeste is able to get a touch to a long ball forward from Robinson. He has no runners, though, and his glancing touch runs safely through to Szczesny.

  18. 80

    Rosicky goes down inside the box, but is waved back to his feet. Dann did well to get a toe to the ball before catching Rosicky.

  19. 79

    Arsenal working the ball from side to side, making Blackburn work. They eventuallu go into the box, but Herny can't quite pull a looping pass out of the air.

  20. 78

    Crazy pass from Hanley to Olsson on the edge of his own box. Blackburn are let off the hook by Rosicky as he clatters into the back of Olsson. Needless from the Arsenal man.

  21. 77

    Henry on the ball for the first time. He runs straight at Olsson, but then looses his footing and slips. He can be excused for being a little rusty.

  22. 76

    Van Persie decides to cross, but his delivery is dealt with by Hanley. As soon as Blackburn clear, the ball comes straight back at them.

  23. 75

    Benyoun is bundled over by Hoilett on the edge of the box. Maybe a bit too wide for Van Persie to attempt a shot, but he is lining up the ball.

  24. 74

    Hanley concedes another corner. He had to poke a Sagna cross behind. Arteta's delivery makes its way across the face of goal before being hacked clear. Coquelin then goes for goal from the edge of the box, but gets under his shot and lifts it over the top.

  25. 73

    Arsenal continue to tease Blackburn with their blend of free-flowing football. You get the feeling they could score at any time now.

  26. 72

    Final change for Arsenal sees Benayoun come on in place of Song.

  27. 71

    Olsson running down a blind alley as he tries to make headway down the Blackburn left. He has far too much to do and is seen off by two red shirts.

  28. 70

    Rosicky with a positive dart into the box, but three defenders go with him. Robinson looks far from impressed as he goes and gathers the ball.

  29. 69

    Van Persie's corner comes to nothing. Song then has space to have a shot, but opts to try and lob the ball over the top of Blackburn's back line. Wrong choice.

  30. 68

    Henry on in place of the impressive Oxlade-Chamberlain. Koscielny makes way for Sagna.

  31. 67

    Walcott in behind again. He only has Van Persie to aim at and Olsson knocks his cross behind.

  32. 66

    Oxlade-Chamberlain unable to get past Orr, but he still ensures that Blackburn remain pegged inside their own half. Movement on the Arsenal bench.

  33. 65

    Hanley slices a clearance up into the air and Robinson is forced to touch the ball over his own crossbar. The resulting corner makes its way to Walcott, but he hacks over the top.

  34. 64

    Coquelin well forward again down the right. Ole football from Arsenal now, with the crowd enjoying themselves for a chance. Not often they have been able to say that this season!

  35. 63

    No way through this time for Arsenal, with Nzonzi able to cut out another dangerous cross. Hoilett looks to cause problems at the opposite end of the field, but Koscielny blocks his route to goal.

  36. 62

    Damage limitation now for Blackburn. They need to make sure that this game does not set the tone for the rest of their season.

  37. 61

    GOAL ARSENAL - VAN PERSIE. Hat-trick for Arsenal's skipper. Oxlade-Chamberlain involved again as he switches the play to Coquelin. His low cross to the front post is turned home by Van Persie.

  38. 60

    Brilliant run from Oxlade-Chamberlain as he jinks past two defenders and hangs a cross up to the far post. Arteta meets the delivery on the volley, but hammers high into the crowd.

  39. 59

    Vermaelen is back with us. He is going to battle on. Sniff of goal for Blackburn as Hoilett races in behind Coquelin. Szczesny is off his line early to gather at the feet of the Blackburn forward.

  40. 58

    Vermaelen hobbles off and doesn't look to be in a good way. Meanwhile, Blackburn line up a 35-yard free-kick. Pedersen hammers this effort straight into the wall.

  41. 57

    Sagna is sent out to get warmed up. The last thing Arsenal need is toget another defensive injury after all the problems they have had this season.

  42. 56

    Hoilett taken down by Vermaelen. No card as yet, which is a surprise. Vermaelen has actually come out of the challenge worse off and is still on the ground.

  43. 55

    Another injury concern for Blackburn as Dann hobbles from the field. He doesn't look to be in a good way.

  44. 54

    GOAL ARSENAL - OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN. The goals continue to flow for Arsenal. Walcott leads a counter, cutting past three defenders and into the box. He feeds the ball into Oxlade-Chamberlain and he fires low into the bottom corner past a flat-footed Robinson.

  45. 53

    Modeste is cutting an isolated figure up front for Blackburn. They have been unable to get any service into him this afternoon. Comfortable afternoon for the Arsenal back four.

  46. 52

    Blackburn could be on the wrong end of a hiding here. They have offered very little going forward and are all over the place at the back. As I speak, Van Persie blazes narrowly over the top. The flag was up, but it was a tight call.

  47. 51

    GOAL ARSENAL - ARTETA. Blackburn only half-clear the corner and the ball drops kindly for Arteta on the edge of the box. His crisp shot fizzes into the bottom corner.

  48. 51

    Walcott fires a dangerous cross low into the near post. Hanley has to deal with it and comes close to putting through his own net.

  49. 50

    Hoilett and Pedersen attempt a one-two down the Blackburn left, but the final ball has too much on it and rolls out of play. Not happening for Rovers this afternoon.

  50. 49

    Great run from Coquelin as he brushes past Olsson. He takes a tumble inside the box, but is waved back to his feet. Song is then pulled up for a trip on Modeste.

  51. 48

    Nzonzi with room to move into. He is, however, short on options to his right and left. Rovers ebentually move the ball to Orr, who cuts inside Vermaelen. His low shot is easily saved by Szczesny.

  52. 47

    Dann forced to hook a dangerous cross from Walcott behind for a corner. Arsenal waste the opportunity as Oxlade-Chamberlain is caught offside after playing the set-piece short.

  53. 46

    Surely Arsenal will go looking for more goals in the second half. No reason for them to hold back. Blackburn are there for the taking. The Gunners slip back into their passing stride at the start of the second 45.

  54. Arsenal get the second half underway.

  55. The players are back with us and we are ready for the off once more.

  56. You can also bet in-play at skybet.com. Arsenal are now 1/1000 to take the points, with Blackburn 500/1 and the draw 66/1. You can get 9/2 on Arsenal to win 6/1.

  57. How do you see things going from here? Get your thoughts in to Chris.Burton@bskyb.com or @SkySportsChrisB.

  58. Arsenal 3 Blackburn 1. The Gunners got off to a flying start and have enjoyed a productive opening 45 minutes. Rovers were able to haul themselves level briefly, but Givet's dismissal has left them with a mountain to climb.

  59. 45+5

    Olsson was apparently booked for a high challenge on Rosicky prior to Arsenal netting their third of the afternoon.

  60. 45+4

    Long clearance from Robinson has to be dealt with by Koscielny, and Arsenal can't clear their lines. Eventually they spring clear, but Walcott can't find a route past Olsson.

  61. 45+3

    We haven't seen much of Hoilett today, and on this occasion he is unable to dance past three defenders. Arsenal counter, but Rovers slam the door in Van Persie's face.

  62. 45+2

    Another stoppage as Andre Marriner requires a drink. He has taken a knock to the face. He dropped his whistle as well. As expected, he gets little sympathy from the stands.

  63. 45+1

    Off the woodwork from Vermaelen. Arsenal play a corner short and Arteta's floated delivery to the back post finds Vermaelen all alone. He really should have scored, but saw his effort flick off the outside of the post.

  64. Five minutes of stoppage time to be played.

  65. 45

    Dunn is sacrificed as Hanley is brought on into Blackburn's back four.

  66. 45

    Oxlade-Chamberlain tries a clever flick, but gets it all wrong. Arsenal don't need to bring out the party tricks just yet.

  67. 44

    Surely there is no way back for Blackburn now and they will remain inside the Premier League drop zone. It has to be said, they aren't helping themselves this afternoon. Arsenal should be looking to fill their boots now.

  68. 43

    Things go from bad to worse for Blackburn as Givet is shown a straight red card. He lunged into a two-footed tackle on Van Persie and can have few complaints.

  69. 43

    Dunn takes aim from distance, but sees a well-struck shot hammer into Koscielny.

  70. 42

    Dunn doesn't even bother to compete for a high ball with Mertesacker. Blackburn look a little shell shocked, and well they might!

  71. 41

    Oxlade-Chamberlain's effort was his first in the Premier League. A memorable moment for a young man who is making quite a stir at the moment. No more than Arsenal deserve.

  72. 40

    GOAL ARSENAL - OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN. Another flowing move from Arsenal ends up with the ball in the back of the net. A great run from Oxlade-Chamberlain is picked out by Van Persie and he keeps his composure to round Robinson and roll into an empty net.

  73. 39

    Pedersen's cross from the right flank is nodded clear by Mertesacker. Blackburn were level for seven minutes and now have it all to do again.

  74. 38

    GOAL ARSENAL - VAN PERSIE. Arsenal edge back in front as Walcott and Van Persie combine again. Song rolls a perfect pass into the path of Walcott and he cuts the ball back for Van Persie to sweep home from close range.

  75. 37

    Brilliant front play from Van Persie as he allows the ball to drift across his body and away from his marker. He sets his sights on goal from 25 yards out, but rifles high into the stands.

  76. 36

    Lowe has been forced to make way for Orr.

  77. 36

    Szczesny comes and flaps and a high ball into the box. He is fortunate to see the ball run out of play after it escapes his grasp.

  78. 35

    Lowe looks to be in trouble and Orr is stripped off and ready to make his Blackburn bow.

  79. 34

    Lowe is helped from the field. Rosicky did get a toe to the ball before sliding into the Blackburn man, but he is still lucky to have escaped a caution.

  80. 33

    Rosicky rather dives in on a challenge on Lowe. He catches the Blackburn defender and is fortunate to avoid a yellow card. Frustration on Arsenal's part.

  81. 32

    Against the run of play, but Blackburn are right back in this. Sums up Arsenal's season so far.

  82. 31

    GOAL BLACKBURN - PEDERSEN. Brilliant free-kick from Pedersen. He gets the ball up and over the wall and arrowing towards the top corner. Szczesny gets a hand to his effort but can't keep it out. Rovers level things up.

  83. 31

    Koscielny fells Modeste 25 yards from goal, and sees yellow. Rare opportunity for Blackburn to get in a shot on goal.

  84. 30

    Good feet from Van Persie on the edge of the box as he makes himself a yard. He looks to lift the ball over the head of Robinson but, on his weaker right foot, he scuffs his effort well wide.

  85. 29

    Oxlade-Chamberlain's delivery to the front post is not the best and is easily dealt with by Blackburn. Welcome opportunity for them to clear their lines.

  86. 28

    Coquelin unable to combine with Walcott, but Arsenal remain on the front foot and Oxlade-Chamberlain sees a cross cannon off Pedersen and behind.

  87. 27

    Koscielny stands up well against Modeste, with the Blackburn men able to get himself into a position to run at the Arsenal defence. Having failed to make inroads in the final third, Rovers are quickly pushed back into their own half.

  88. 26

    Patient build-up from Arsenal as they wait for gaps to open up. Vermaelen is pushed well forward down the left, offering another attacking option.

  89. 25

    Nzonzi cautioned for diving into a challenge on Rosicky. He caught the Arsenal man on the ankle.

  90. 24

    Blackburn deal with the second corner, but can't get out of their own half. Van Persie hangs a delivery up to the back post and Petrovic bundles behind. Oxlade-Chamberlain delivers long to the back post, where Mertesacker's header bounces up and over the top.

  91. 23

    Oxlade-Chamberlain is looking lively again. On this occasion he wins a corner down the Arsenal left. Arteta's delivery is nodded clear by Petrovic. The Gunners remain in possession and Rosicky sees a shot from 25 yards deflected past the post.

  92. 22

    Blackbrun forced to go all the way back to Robinson. Arsenal working really hard when out of possession, They tehn spring clear at every given opportunity.

  93. 21

    Pedersen pulled up for a foul on Vermaelen. Coquelin then loses the ball as he tries to run it own from the back for the hosts. Scrappy.

  94. 20

    Walcott causing problems again down the right. His cross is half-cleared, but straight into the path of Rosicky. His shot is blocked at source by Petrovic.

  95. 19

    Arsenal slow things down. Blackburn working hard to get the ball back, but they are chasing shadows at the moment. Van Persie teases Givet, but is unable to get in a cross.

  96. 18

    Blackburn able to stand firm on this occasion, with Walcott's route to goal blocked off. Rovers coming into the game, but they are yet to test the Arsenal back four.

  97. 17

    Dunn well forward, breaking in front of his strikers. A long ball over the top just has too much on it and runs through to Szczesny.

  98. 16

    Nzonzi said to have tripped Song. Free-kick to Arsenal 30 yards from goal and a chance to load the box. Van Persie whips the ball in, but Mertesacker is unable to get a telling touch.

  99. 15

    Modeste is cautioned for sliding into Szczesny. Seems harsh as he had every right to go for the ball.

  100. 14

    Pedersen with a clever dinked pass in towards Modeste. The Blackburn striker stretches for the ball and collides with Szczesny. The Arsenal keeper gets there first, but both men require treatment.

  101. 13

    Walcott forces the ball off Olsson and behind for a corner. Van Persie's delivery is headed clear by Dann. Blackburn finally seeing some of the ball, but they are unable to carve Arsenal open.

  102. 12

    Olsson takes a Walcott cross in the face. He stays down. He looks a little rattled but should be okay to continue. Another base for Arsenal to build on.

  103. 11

    Arsenal in behind again as Oxlade-Chamberlain is sprung into space. He is caught in two minds and his cross-shot across the face of goal runs away on the far side.

  104. 10

    Another hefty challenge from Modeste, this time on Arteta. He gets away with it again. Arsenal work the free-kick wide onto their right. Rosicky then tries to be too clever and surrenders possession.

  105. 9

    Song caught on the ball in midfield and Dunn races into space. He takes one too many touches and is bundled over by Mertesacker. Should have looked to pull the trigger.

  106. 8

    Van Persie pulled up for a nudge in the back of Lowe. Good spot from the officials. Had he got away with it, the Dutchman was in on goal again.

  107. 7

    Modeste with a full-blooded challenge on Vermaelen. No card shown. Arsenal keen to get on with things as quickly as possible.

  108. 6

    Arsenal counter at pace through Rosicky. He rolls the ball inside for Oxlade-Chamberlain. He goes for goal from 25 yards, but drags his shot well wide.

  109. 5

    Coqulein floats a cross into the heart of the Blackburn box. Givet nods clear, but only as far as Song. He returns the ball into the area, but his delivery has too much on it for Van Persie.

  110. 4

    Arsenal quickly into their stride and are they are knocking the ball around purposefully. Blackburn can't get near them at the moment.

  111. 3

    Vermaelen has the Gunners making inroads once again. On this occasion there is no way through. Blackburn wobbling already.

  112. 2

    GOAL ARSENAL - VAN PERSIE. Perfect start for the Gunners. Blackburn fail to clear their lines and Walcott bursts to the dead-ball line. Van Persie is left all alone in the midfield to tap his low cross into an empty net.

  113. 1

    Hoilett with a direct burst into the Arsenal box early on. He pokes the ball in the direction of Modeste, but Mertesacker reads his intention and hammers clear.

  114. Blackburn get us up and running.

  115. Players enter the arena and we are almost ready for the off at the Emirates. Freezing conditions in North London, so let's hope the action on the field offers plenty to get excited about.

  116. Teams are in the tunnel so we will have to leave the feedback there for now. There will be further opportunities to have your say at half-time and at the end of the game.

  117. For the record, the Victoria Line is closed today, that is why we are kicking off early at the Emirates.

  118. Ground filling up nicely. Protests planned today, with Arsenal supporters set to put black bin liners over any empty seats. The last thing those on the field need is a distraction from the stands. Can the Gunners remain focused?

  119. Today's referee is Andre Marriner.

  120. Blackburn team: Robinson, Lowe, Dann, Givet, Martin Olsson, Pedersen, Petrovic, Nzonzi, Hoilett, Dunn, Modeste. Subs: Bunn, Formica, Orr, Rochina, Goodwillie, Vukcevic, Hanley.

  121. Arsenal team: Szczesny, Coquelin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Song, Arteta, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Van Persie. Subs: Fabianski, Sagna, Ramsey, Benayoun, Arshavin, Henry, Park.

  122. You can also bet in-play throughout the game at skybet.com. Arsenal are strong favourites prior to kick off at 2/7, with Blackburn 9/1 and the draw 9/2. You can get 2/1 on Robin van Persie to open the scoring, or maybe you fancy Anthony Modeste at 16/1.

  123. Will Arsenal get back on track today or can Rovers spring a surprise? Who will be the men to keep an eye on? Let me know your thoughts.

  124. Feel free to offer your opinion on today's game by contacting me direct at Chris.Burton@bskyb.com or @SkySportsChrisB.

  125. Rovers edged a seven-goal thriller at Ewood Park earlier in the season, but Arsenal know they cannot afford any more slip-ups if they are to force their way into the UEFA Champions League spots.

  126. Blackburn find themselves inside the bottom three, but victory today could see them clamber back out of the drop zone.

  127. Arsenal have slipped five points adrift of the top four over recent weeks, with a four-match winless run seeing them drop off the pace.

  128. Welcome to Emirates Stadium for our coverage of today's Premier League encounter between Arsenal and Blackburn.

Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 3 9
2 Swansea City 3 9
3 Aston Villa 3 7
4 Manchester City 3 6
5 Liverpool 3 6
6 Tottenham Hotspur 3 6
7 Arsenal 3 5
8 Southampton 3 4
9 Hull City 3 4
10 Stoke City 3 4
11 West Ham United 3 3
12 Queens Park Rangers 3 3
13 Sunderland 3 2
14 Manchester United 3 2
15 Leicester City 3 2
16 Newcastle United 3 2
17 Everton 3 2
18 West Bromwich Albion 3 2
19 Crystal Palace 3 1
20 Burnley 3 1