Gunners move five clear
Arsenal down Blackburn to move clear in the title race
By James Pearson. Last Updated: 13/02/08 12:14pm
Senderos opens the scoring
Philippe Senderos and Emmanuel Adebayor struck to give Arsenal a comfortable 2-0 victory over Blackburn at the Emirates.
The Gunners started in fine fashion and were rewarded for their positive start when Senderos headed home Eduardo da Silva's corner with just four minutes played.
Arsene Wenger's side continued to press in the first half, although a crucial killer second goal consistently eluded them.
In the second half Alexander Hleb struck a post, but it took until injury-time for the league leaders to wrap up the win.
Free-scoring Adebayor was fed by Hleb and he skipped inside Zurab Khizanishvili before lashing a right-footed drive past the outstanding Brad Friedel to clinch the win.
Arsenal's opener arrived early on after Tugay received a poor pass in midfield, with Eduardo racing through but getting denied through a combination of Andre Ooijer and then Khizanishvili.
There were tame calls for a penalty but it mattered little as Senderos headed Eduardo's corner powerfully beyond Friedel after slipping the attentions of Benni McCarthy.
It was Senderos' second goal of the season, sparking robust celebrations from the Switzerland centre-back with his team-mates.
Adebayor could have added a second shortly after but headed wide from Eduardo's free-kick, while Steven Reid glanced a header well wide at the other end.
Mathieu Flamini should have added a second midway through the first half. Adebayor's crossfield ball was headed beyond the Blackburn defence by Cesc Fabregas, who was deployed on the right flank, but Flamini's effort was saved by Friedel with his legs.
Arsenal threats came from all areas, with Hleb going on a mazy run past three defenders but getting halted in the penalty area.
Skipper William Gallas also went on a powerful but his effort was deflected wide after exchanging passes with Eduardo.
Arsenal have been guilty of failing to kill off teams in the past, and without a second goal for the hosts, Blackburn edged their way back into the game.
Blackburn's threat came from the delivery of David Bentley, who Arsenal knew so well from his time at the club before heading north two years ago.
Wenger thought Bentley's future was as a central playmaker and he stood little chance at Arsenal while Dennis Bergkamp was still there, but it is on the wings where he causes damage.
With Franco Baldini and Stuart Pearce from England's backroom staff watching in the stands, Bentley caused problems with his crosses but the visitors still struggled for clear chances.
Brett Emerton's cross from the right pierced the Arsenal defence but McCarthy and Roque Santa Cruz could only glance their headers when power was required.
Santa Cruz also hooked over the crossbar from Stephen Warnock's cross late in the first half.
Sensing a way back into the game, Bentley almost embarrassed Jens Lehmann early in the second period with a free-kick around the blindside of the defensive wall.
Lehmann was down at his near post to scramble clear in only his second Premier League game since his blunder against Rovers at the start of the season.
After his save, Arsenal looked in search for a second goal.
Hleb struck the post at the other end in the next move after Eduardo picked him out on the edge of the area, then Friedel was forced to save with his legs again when Adebayor sped past Ooijer and got a shot away.
Adebayor also went down in the area but the shouts for a penalty were mainly from a restless crowd who wanted to see the points wrapped up.
Fabregas almost did it in the 67th minute, drilling just wide from the edge of the area after Adebayor's cushioned pass.
Adebayor then went close himself, cutting inside and unleashing a shot that Friedel was down sharply to save. He then forced the American to block at his feet.
Friedel also saved from a swerving effort from Hleb to keep the visitors in the game.
The second came in stoppage time, Adebayor rifling into the bottom corner from Hleb's pass.
Barclays Premier League
|9||West Ham United||30||42|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||30||33|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||30||22|