Arsenal and Blackburn had their midweek fixture postponed because both had to play in European qualification matches. Both teams had to travel and play tough matches abroad. Arsenal had a 24 hour rest advantage, which could be a crucial factor in the outcome of the match. Arsenal beat Fulham 2-1 at the Emirates stadium with a last minute goal from Alexander Hleb, before traveling to Prague to beat Sparta Prague 2-0. Blackburn on the other hand was able to come back from being 1-0 behind to beat Middleborough 1-2. They also won their UEFA cup qualifying match against Mypa (Finland) 0-1.
Arsenal has considerably easy home fixtures up till the end of October, but if we want to challenge for the title, we’ll need to pick up points on the road, and tomorrow is our first test.
This game at Blackburn will prove to be decisive in the campaign of our young gunners. If we could pull of a win at tomorrow’s match, then add on 6 more points from our 2 coming home matches against Man City and Portsmouth, we will have answered those critics in the best possible fashion. Twelve points from 4 games will bring us back as a serious title contender in the eyes of all the other teams. Moreover, it will shake off that confidence crisis we’re having, and it will give us a huge momentum boost that we can make use of for the rest of the season.
Blackburn Rovers has a decent team that has been able to play in the UEFA cup for the second consecutive time this year. The team stands out with his colorful selection of quality strikers such as experienced McCarthy, Roberts, and young Derbyshire. Moreover, Mark Hughes added even more quality to his side by bringing in both Santa Cruz and Rigters this summer. The team depends on MGP and Bentley as playmaking wingers. They tend to be very dangerous from set pieces and crosses because of the aerial abilities they posses. They are well known for their tough tackling style. Their top striker Benni McCarthy is a major doubt due to his previous concussion incident.
Blackburn most probable line-up (4-4-2): Friedel; Ooijer, Nelsen, Samba, Warnock; Bentley, Dunn, Savage, Pedersen; Santa Cruz, Roberts. Arsenal: I would have hoped that Wenger would rotate during our midweek game against Prague, as we can then have some fresh players for this important fixture, but I guess he didn’t wanna take any chances with CL.Â
Arsenal has so many injured players now. Tomas Rosicky and Emmanuel Eboue have been the latest injury causalities; they are ruled out of tomorrow’™s trip to Blackburn. These injuries will force Wenger to use his other options. Theo Walcott and Dudu will be given their first start this season, the second subject to passing a fitness test.
If Dudua’s fit, then we can expect a balanced 4-4-2 with Shaggy returning back to the wing. If not, then we might keep the 4-5-1 formation with Shaggy playing in his preferred position as an attacking midfielder behind RVP.
Personally, I would like to see Dudu play along with RVP, because so far RVP has not changed his playing style. He is still playing like he used to do as a second striker to Thierry Henry. The transformation to a complete striker will obviously require time to achieve. Dudu on the other hand is hungry for success, and I am sure this boy will deliver.
Keys to Arsenal Victory: Battle hard, but wisely (not like Gilberto last season) Take advantage of our early chances. We need to score the first goal if we want to win this match. This advantage will allow us to put pressure on the home side, and dictate the terms of the remaining time of the match. Utilize Walcott and RVP pace on the right flank against inexperienced Warnock, and Dudua’s pace and Shaggy’s dribbling ability against the recklessness of Ooijer on the left flank (I’ve seen him responsible for numerous reckless fouls, PKs, and own goals!!) Unleash The Beast, with his long range rocket launcher, and his powerful headers (With that I mean Toure, don’t think wrong!!) Guard Santa Claus strongly (We accept gifts, but shouldn’t give them like last game!!)
Arsenal most probable line-up (4-4-2): Lehmann; Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy; Hleb, Fabregas, Flamini, Walcott; Dudu, Van Persie.
Last year result: 0 – 2 (Toure, Henry)