Premier League – Adebayor hat-trick downs Rovers


Emmanuel Adebayor scored a hat-trick as Arsenal romped to a 4-0 Premier League win away to Blackburn Rovers.

2008-2009 Blackburn-Arsenal Chris Samba Emmanuel Adebayor - 0

The Togolese striker scored with a header, a right-footed penalty and a left-foot tap-in after rounding goalkeeper Paul Robinson late on, to walk away with the match ball.

Robin van Persie earlier gave the visitors the lead following superb work by Theo Walcott.

Arsenal looked devastating going forward – even with Cesc Fabregas not hitting the same heights as last season.

Arsene Wenger suggested he might rest the 19-year-old Walcott following his hat-trick against Croatia, to minimize the risk of burn-out.

However, given the absence of Samir Nasri, Tomas Rosicky and Abou Diaby, he had little choice but to play Walcott and the winger quickly vindicated his decision.

Walcott is playing with such confidence that it came as little surprise to see him step away from two tackles in the eighth minute, accelerate towards the box and play a neat diagonal ball for Van Persie.

The Dutchman took one touch to steady himself and another to send his left-foot shot past Paul Robinson.

Walcott’s dribbling ability saw him create numerous further openings for Adebayor, who, despite his hat-trick, did not play particularly well and repeatedly strayed offside.

Arsenal’s main man was Walcott, who proceeded to take numerous shots at goal, including an outrageous attempt at a Thierry Henry-style long-range sidefoot into the top corner.

The fact that he did not score will matter less to Arsene Wenger than the fact that he is now prepared to trust his abundant talent and take control of games. He went off just after the hour mark to a standing ovation.

But, this being Arsenal, Blackburn had their chances. Roque Santa Cruz fired over with a left-foot shot just two minutes after the opening goal, when William Gallas failed to deal with a long, diagonal ball.

Brett Emerton supplied a reliable source of crosses from the right, including one that flashed in front of goal without anybody turning it in.

Another found Santa Cruz leaping at the far post, but the Paraguayan headed over from six yards.

At the other end, Van Persie twice went close to doubling his tally. He hit the side-netting after Denilson played him in with a canny ball, then volleyed just wide from 25 yards.

Just before half-time, Arsenal extended their lead with a routine goal preceded by a remarkable build-up.

The visitors must have completed 30 passes before Denilson crossed to Adebayor – onside this time – who powered his downward header past Robinson.

The second period proved a tamer affair as Blackburn ran out of steam. Emerton nearly played Jason Roberts through early in the half and Morten Gamst Pedersen squandered a good attacking position by straying offside.

Thereafter it was easy going for Arsenal, who would have gone further in front had Kolo Toure not somehow missed from a yard out.

Emmanuel Eboue forced a great save from Robinson with a 25-yard strike, then won a penalty after a rash challenge by Stephen Warnock, and Adebayor put the result beyond doubt nine minutes before the end.

And he completed the rout when he collected an Aaron Ramsey through-ball, took the ball past Robinson and shot into the empty net.

Alex Chick / Eurosport

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