Arsenal rout sorry Rovers

PA Sport
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (left)
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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (left)

Robin van Persie smashed a hat-trick as Arsenal claimed a 7-1 win over 10-man Blackburn at Emirates Stadium.

The Dutchman fired the Gunners ahead in the second minute, but a fine free-kick from Morten Gamst Pedersen levelled the game briefly.

Van Persie and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave the hosts a two-goal cushion and Blackburn had Gael Givet dismissed before the break, which was followed by more Arsenal domination as Mikel Arteta, Van Persie, Oxlade-Chamberlain and substitute Thierry Henry made it a rout.

Arsene Wenger's side took just one minute and 19 seconds to move ahead. Theo Walcott played a low centre through the six-yard box to Van Persie who tapped in his 121st Arsenal goal to overtake Dennis Bergkamp on the all-time list.

But after 31 minutes Pedersen whipped a dangerous free-kick over the wall and into the top-left corner, a shot which Wojciech Szczesny got a hand to but could not keep out.

Arsenal were ahead again after 38 minutes, and again it was Walcott who was the provider. He cut the ball back from the goalline right into the path of Van Persie, who again made no mistake from a yard out.

Before Rovers could regroup, it was 3-1. Walcott and Van Persie combined again, this time to release Oxlade-Chamberlain into the Blackburn penalty area, where he skipped around Paul Robinson and slotted home his first Premier League goal five minutes from half-time.

The afternoon got worse for the visitors after 43 minutes when Gael Givet was shown a straight red card by referee Andre Marriner for jumping in with two feet on Van Persie and Arsenal further extended their lead when Blackburn only half cleared a corner to the edge of the area, from where Arteta drilled the ball back into the bottom left corner.

Rovers were over-run again after 54 minutes when Walcott's mazy dribble through the penalty area took him past five defenders before slipping in Oxlade-Chamberlain, who turned his marker and rolled the ball past Robinson.

Van Persie completed his hat-trick after 62 minutes when he clipped home a cross at the near post and Henry swept home number seven in stoppage time, with the aid of a deflection.

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