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It feels like an eternity since the last Arsenal game. The forgettable affair of the first goalless draw at the Grove last weekend seemed like ages ago. A week ago and not much has changed. Ewood Park is the next scene for Arsenal as Wenger’s boys look to finally confirm 3rd spot. A point would be sufficient to secure it, given our massive advantage in terms of goal difference ahead of Spurs. A win would be more than welcomed since it has been 4 games without a win from the best club in North London.
Blackburn are sitting comfortably in 12th position in the league and have nothing else to play for this season bar pride. They have a decent record at home with almost equal wins, draws and losses. Like the game at Birmingham, this away fixture is by no means an easy one for Arsenal. Also like Birmingham, Blackburn are undefeated at home against United and Chelsea. As is always the case with Sam Allardyce’s teams, they are tight at the back and only nicks the occasional goals at the opposite end.
That David Dunn sits atop 2 charts at Blackburn only goes to embarass the strikers that they have. Their strikeforce is so woeful that even a cumulative calculation of the goals scored by Roberts, Di Santo and Kalinic is only equal to the measly amount of 8 goals that Dunn has scored this season. Campbell and Silvestre could not have wished for a more easier pair of strikers to play with, form-wise. The other chart that Dunn is currently leading at Blackburn is the yellow card count. There will be no doubt that Allardyce intends to keep to his tried and tested formula against Arsenal, kicking them off the park.
On the Arsenal front, Mr Lost In Translation Andrey Arshavin will not get a run out as he is still slightly short on full match fitness according to Wenger. There’s a lot of things that has been said by the Russian captain during his short time at Arsenal, both during interviews as well as on his personal website. How many of those have been short-changed during translation is not known to me but surely there is no assumption to be made if there is no suggestion. It has not been a vintage season for him and the best thing for him at the moment is to keep working hard and show us the real match-winner that he really is.
As for the starting line-up, I’m guessing it will pretty much be the one that started against Man City. Even for Robin Van Persie who completed his first 90 minutes for Arsenal since his return from injury, should be well rested and recovered during the week to captain the side once again. This is how I see us lining up;
Tomas Rosicky has already played 33 games for us this season with 20 of those in the starting line-up. That for me is a very big number for someone who looked to be out of the game indefinitely after all his injury troubles. He deserves a rest for the game and will come on if necessary. Nasri will get another chance in the Fabregas role and will need to do more than he had in the past few games to show that he really deserve to play in that central role. Wenger likens him to aspire to be like Robert Pires and that is not a bad role model to aim for. Nasri needs to show that he is capable of leading the team offensively and if goals are to come by at Ewood Park, he would be the supplier of them.
It’s really end of season stuffs now and Blackburn will look to finish their last home game with a flourish. A club like Arsenal cannot have players who just played out games like it is a meaningless friendly. They owe it to the fans who have travelled far and wide to give them the voracious support on away grounds. A win would be a nice way to celebrate our captain’s Cesc Fabregas’ 23rd birthday.