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Arsenal v Some Northern Team Or Other. The Untold match preview

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Arsenal take on Dowd.  Blackburn will also be there

Arsenal v Some Northern Team or Other – the preview

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By Phil Gregory

International week is so much more dull than the Premier League, so I won’t be dwelling on it in this article. General Arsenal-related news has been interesting though, with Barca planning a lower bid than the one that got rejected for being too low in the summer for Cesc Fabregas. Even with 20% unemployment in Spain, they cannot find someone who understands the most basic of maths (or perhaps Barcelona can’t afford them on their payroll…). Oh, and Cesc’s idol Guardiola is off the season after next. Apart from the news that some Premier League managers would rather have Rooney in their side than Messi (see the EPL’s site if you don’t believe me) I think that just about covers it

Moving on to the matter at hand, the injury news for Blackburn is good. Van Persie, Fabregas, Walcott, Diaby and Song are all back in squad, while Bendtner should be too pending a test on his ankle. That said, there are a few casualties to be taken into account. Denilson has picked up an undisclosed injury whilst longer term problems are keeping Djourou, Fabianski and Vermaelen on the sidelines. Unfortunately Aaron Ramsey has been confirmed as out of the match, but hopefully his absence will be counterbalanced by Cesc’s return.

Almunia

Sagna Squillaci Koscielny Clichy

Song Wilshere

Fabregas

Nasri Van Persie Arshavin

It’s a bit of a tricky task predicting our line-up given various players are back in the squad, after injuries. Some of them may be treated with a little bit more caution than others given the depth in their position, while others will be wanted in the starting line-up if viewed as fit enough to be there.

Almunia continues in goal despite an unconvincing few games since returning between the sticks. The back four is as before the international break, with no new injuries forcing changes at the back. Given that, our last-standing centrebacks Koscielny and Squillaci fill in in the middle, flanked by fullbacks Sagna and Clichy.

Further forward, Song and Wilshere shield the back four, the former a very welcome returnee after missing a few games before the break. Fabregas completes the midfield three. Though a key part of our team, his increasingly concerning muscle injuries will mean that he won’t be called into action for what should be a reasonably comfortable home game unless 100% fit.

Despite Theo Walcott’s return to fitness following a freak ankle injury, I’ve left him out of the starting line-up. Against an opposition unlikely to be too ambitious I think our more creative wide players will be a better bet than Theo, and expect him to come off the bench instead if needed. Nasri plays on the right therefore, with Arshavin on the left. Despite a knock during international week, Van Persie will hopefully be passed fit to start, and given his importance to our attacking play I expect him to go straight into the starting line-up if available.

On paper, this should be an easy game for us. A long list of first-eleven players available for selection again and Blackburn have lost eleven out of fifteen away games this season. They’ve won one game in their last eight in charge and come into the tie lead by a fairly underqualified and inexperienced manager who has surely been given the job as he’s a bit of a “yes man” to the new owners.

Yet it isn’t quite that simple. A lot of those key players coming back may take a little time to get back into the swing of things, and Blackburn should be desperate to get points on the board. Then, there is of course the Dowd factor to account for, which has been documented excellently on this site by Walter and Dogface.

Taking all that into account, I’m going to go for 2-1 to the Arsenal. Ever the optimist, I don’t think Dowd will be able to rob us of three points given the dire state of Blackburn Rovers, but he might conjure up some of his penalty specials. Almunia in goal and no Djourou also doesn’t bode well on the set piece front, so I won’t be betting on a clean sheet either. Three points is absolutely vital here at this stage in the season to keep the title hopes alive, so let’s hope we get them.

6 comments to Arsenal v Some Northern Team Or Other. The Untold match preview

  • Ron_Anon

    I feel we’re due to give someone an absolute tonking, and Dowd will have to behave – he’s human and he’ll know how much of a cock up he made at Newcastle. I’m thinking 6 or 7…. hopefully that will be enough to counter Manuel….

  • Dark Prince

    At this point, no1 cares how it happens, but all Arsenal needs is a win. And one important thing the all of us will hope is that Cesc, Nasri, Walcott, Van Persie stay fit after the match.

  • St. Louis Gooner

    Cesc and Song are back. It just seems like some other team without them. Plus, it’s a lunchtime kickoff over here. Ruebens instead of bacon and eggs. This should be fun. How about a nice 4-nil to raise everyone’s spirits?

  • Red Jessie

    So we have useless Dowd again. I bet there is a send off and at least one awful refereeing decision.

  • Gooner Gal

    I have to say that I was very, very disappointed with the team today. Either they were tired, semi match fit or simply lacking the heart to get the job done.

    I have to give credit to Blackburn because even though they went down to 10 men, they played with heart and a draw wasn’t a bad result for them. However for me it was like a nail through the heart. We should of won this game.

  • Gooner Gal

    I haven’t been in the blogsphere for a while so I don’t know how long its been like this or if I am a lone voice in saying that I preferred the previous layout on this site as it was much easier to follow and navigate.