The Gunners head to Ewood park on Saturday for a tough match against a physical Blackburn side who are struggling and are currently sitting in last place on the Premier League table.
Arsenal’s midweek fixture against Borussia Dortmund would have helped ease the pressure after a valiant defensive effort, however they will need to improve their finesse in the final third this weekend if they want to get their ball rolling on a comeback to the top of the table.
Gervinho and Song return to the fold after serving respective 3 match suspensions, and after a highly impressive performance in midweek, Song will be looking to aid his defence once again to secure back to back Premier League clean sheets. Arsene Wenger has been pleased with recent performances, signs are looking good for a more positive season after it began horribly, and the new signings are beginning to integrate into Wengers philosophy nicely.
Blackburn’s main weakeness’s lay in their full-backs, which Arsenal can expose with the skill and speed from their wingers in Walcott, Arshavin and Gervinho. The Gunners front men should have a bit of fun this Saturday against a struggling Rovers team.
Blackburns season has been turbulent as well after defeats to Wolves and Everton at home, in the latter they failed to convert two penalties, and one loss and a draw on the road. With some of their own fans looking to organize a march ahead of their fifth Premiership match to express their frustration at the recent run of poor results, manager Steve Kean will be under enormous pressure to come up with a solid performance in front of the home crowd. Their first points came last week against Fulham in the 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage and they will be looking at turning their season around this weekend, just as Arsenal did last weekend.
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Blackburn lost youngster Phil Jones in a high profile move to Manchester United, however they brought in a more than able replacement in Scott Dann to partner Chris Samba in the centre of defence. Their defence so far has had a torrid time in their matches against Wolves and Aston Villa, conceding 2 and 3 goals respectively. However, Dann and Samba were starting to gel against Fulham, providing a solid defensive display. Their attack will be at ‘full’ strength with Junior Hoilett and Morten Gamst Pedersen deemed fit, and Spanish striker Ruben Rochina has been in form, scoring three goals including two in the League Cup.
Blackburn 0 Arsenal 2
Arsenal : DWLWL
(Premier League in red)
On latest team news:
Ramsey had a little test today [Thursday] and will practice tomorrow, he has a little chance to be available. Vermaelen is progressing very well and will be available after the next international break. [on Jack Wilshere] I cannot give you any news because he is in a boot for [six weeks in total]. The test will come after that.
“We must win, we live in an environment that questions us when we don’t win. We do not criticise that and have to live with that.
“But we have to show performances, consistency, attitude and quality. That makes us respected. It’s as simple as that. That’s why it is as important that we don’t talk too much and play as well as we can.
“We feel we have turned the corner but we will be judged by the consistency of our results.
“Inside the club, we feel we are on the right track, the spirit in the team is good, strong and together.
“We want to change the skepticism around us but that will only [happen] if we are consistent with our results.
On Arsenal’s impressive away form (bar Old Trafford outing):
“You have to consider that last year we were the best away team in the league, and Old Trafford was a one-off result,”
“You cannot take that as a general rule, and what we have achieved over the last few years away from home is what people forget. We put a lot of effort in at Udinese, and lost a lot of players before that game at Old Trafford.
“Blackburn is Blackburn. We have had good experiences and sometimes disappointing ones there over the years. Over the years they have always had good teams. In the Premier League when you go away from home you want a top performance to make the result, but I am confident we can do that.
Arsenal – Szeczesny – after some stellar performances in recent weeks it’s no wonder that he has cemented himself as Arsenal’s Number One. A clean sheet is inevitable if the defence puts on a performance as good as the past two matches, and expect Szeczesny to do everything he can to make this happen.
Blackburn – Gamst Pederson – The Norwegian winger missed out last week at Craven Cottage but looks likely to make a comeback. He scored in Blackburn’s loss against Aston Villa, and will be looking to break Arsenal’s defence.
Sagna Koscielny Mertesacker Gibbs
Gervinho Van Persie (c) Arshavin
Song and Gervinho will return to the lineup this week after serving their 3 match bans, and after Arshavin’s impressive performance last week and Walcott likely to be rested after playing quite a few games, it looks likely that Gervinho and Arshavin will partner Van Persie in attack.
Aaron Ramsey may be fit enough to play, however I don’t see Wenger risking him when Benayoun and Arteta played well together in midweek. The backline should be as usual, unless Gibbs is perhaps rested for a match with Santos stepping in. Park Chu Young should make his first appearance for the club this match as a substitute as hopefully he will be match fit, either upfront or out wide.
1: Sagna – The right-back is threatening in attack, and should be picking up a clean sheet this week. A decent point scorer that every fantasy manager should have.
2: Szczesny – After several impressive performances, Szczesny is a goalkeeper in demand in the fantasy world. The Gunners should keep a clean sheet this week against a weak Blackburn attack.
3: Robin Van Persie – The Dutchman is still the centre of all Arsenal’s attacks, he scored in midweek, hit the post last week, and is highly likely to get on the scoresheet this weekend.