English Premiership

Arsenal sink Blackpool

2011-04-10 16:40
Robin van Persie (File)

London - Arsenal got their challenge for the Premier League title back on track with a 3-1 win against Blackpool at Bloomfield Road on Sunday.

Arsene Wenger's side closed within seven points of leaders Manchester United as first half goals from Abou Diaby and Emmanuel Eboue and a late strike from Robin van Persie clinched their first win in four league games.

The Gunners will still believe they could catch United as they have a game in hand on Sir Alex Ferguson's side, who also have to travel to the Emirates Stadium for a potentially decisive clash on May 1.

Blackpool's fourth defeat in five games left Ian Holloway's men just one place and one point above the relegation zone.

Wenger was forced to give 41-year-old goalkeeper Jens Lehmann his second Arsenal debut following his return from retirement after Manuel Almunia was ruled out during the warm-up.

Arsenal survived a promising opening from Blackpool, which included a rejected penalty appeal for Laurent Koscielny's challenge on Gary Taylor-Fletcher, and took the lead in the 18th minute.

With Blackpool's defence backing off, Van Persie's cross allowed French midfielder Diaby to slot past Richard Kingson.

Wenger's side increased their lead three minutes later as Ivory Coast defender Eboue ran onto Andrei Arshavin's pass and lashed in his first league goal of the season.

Taylor-Fletcher gave Blackpool a lifeline in the 52nd minute when he scored after referee Lee Mason waved played on when Lehmann rushed off his line to foul DJ Campbell.

But Mason turned down another Blackpool penalty appeal after Koscielny appeared to trip Taylor-Fletcher and Dutch forward van Persie made the points safe when he converted Theo Walcott's cross in the 76th minute.

In Sunday's late game, Aston Villa will look to climb away from the relegation zone when they host Newcastle.

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