Well, this is our first meeting with one of the “thug” teams of the league. Blackburn were quite bad when Hughes was the manager and under Allardyce I expect them to be even worse. The horrific tackle from Diouf on Almunia is still fresh in my mind and these games always scare me more than the games against any top team in England or Europe.
From a football point of view David Dunn is their only offering. If we can keep him from getting too many shots away Blackburn should have very little offensive threat. Without Santa Cruz their attack looks even more impotent and Pedersen has started drifting into obscurity. It will be interesting to see what Di Santo has to offer if he gets some game time.
I haven’t seen any Blackburn game this season so I can’t claim to know what they have been up to. But when we look at the team sheet and we look at the manager there isn’t much they can do differently. They have only scored six goals in the league so far, in effect, equaling our efforts on the first day.
We have both won our home games comfortably and Blackburn have lost both their away games. Robinson is our favorite goal keeper. It will be a big disappointment if we fail to secure a comfortable win and a clean sheet. On the other hand it will be a major achievement if we can come through this game without any serious injuries. A combination of the two would be perfect.
Arshavin scored his first Arsenal goal against the same opposition. He will have pleasant memories of that game even though his foot had to be stitched up. A repeat from him and a return to goal scoring form for Bendtner would be ideal. It will be interesting to see if Le Boss chooses to start with Walcott ahead of Bendtner. I would certainly prefer the giant Dane getting a chance to risking Theo against the thugs just as he is returning from injury.
In his recent pre match press conference Allardyce was hoping for respect from Wenger. It’s probably the best he can hope for. The way he justifies the violence by hiding behind the term contact sport is quite shameful. I guess he will only learn if his main player ends up with a broken leg just as the relegation battle hots up.
The squad might not have too many changes. Sagna will most likely come back into the starting line up. It’s difficult to see Diaby going out of the team as Wenger has shown so much faith in him thus far. Song and Cesc will pick themselves as do Arshavin and RvP. The only real question would be about Bendtner or Walcott and it’s likely that the fleet footed Englishman will just be a second half substitute.
I was a little disappointed after the Olympiakos game when Wenger revealed that Edu had played with an injury. I am not sure what kind of a message that sends to Vela. If the young Mexican is not good enough to come on ahead of a half fit Eduardo then what is his role in the squad this season. I do think he has a lot of quality and needs some time on the pitch. This will also ease some burden of performance from his shoulders. Every time I see Vela or Ramsey come on in the final few minutes they seem to try too hard to do something special. I don’t know if this is a result of the hype created by constant media attention or just a personality trait. It could also be my imagination but I think we will only see the best from them when they can relax on the pitch and don’t feel scrutinized.
Here’s to a good trashing…