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[Archived] Arsenal 3 Blackburn 0


Eddie
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It's another game against one of the big boys this weekend and if this season's experiences are anything to go by then we should be in for a good one. This Saturday we make the long trip down to London and face a resurgent Arsenal at Highbury. After looking totally out of sorts at the start of the season they seem to have hit form with the return of Henry and are once again looking a formidable opposition. However, with no Viera in central midfield they certainly aren't the side that they were last season and as Wigan showed only two days ago they can certainly be given a game, we do not have to go there either being intimidated or expecting to lose.

Very few sides have played us this season and walked away thinking that they have had a comfortable win, or even a comfortable draw. In recent weeks our defense has been as sure as ever while our attacking play has been good, at times even free flowing and the goals have come regularly, with last weekend being the only recent exception where we simply haven't looked like scoring.

In recent seasons this fixture has thrown up some great games and some amazing goals. However, the memory that will be most fresh in both sets of supporters minds will be the FA Cup semi-final from last season. Rovers fans did themselves proud at the Millenium Stadium and the scoreline certainly didn't reflect the closeness of the match. While Arsenal fans may well still feel aggrieved by our supposed "bully boy" tactics and no doubt in the build up to this game we may well hear some of that being drawn up again.

For Blackburn there will almost be a full squad available. Neill and Emerton should be back into the starting eleven after being rested following their success for Australia in the World Cup Qualifiers. The one major selection headache for Hughes will be to figure out how three central defenders who can all justify their place in the team are going to get into two positions. I know that almost every person has an opinion on this, but I would expect that we will see Zurab and Nelsen in the back with Gray and Neill, a back four that is solid while also having the ability to get forward and support attacks, which has been possibly the major part of our good performances so far this season.

Arsenal, on the other hand, have a different problem at the back. With both Clichy and Cole injured they are struggling to find a leftback, a problem we are all too familiar with. In midfield they have yet to replace Viera and we can only hope that Savage and Tugay can dominate the centre of the pitch. The one place we can get no encouragement from is their strikeforce. Henry is back and back to his sparkling best. While Van Persie has been good in recent weeks and the two seem to be working very well together. Our defenders will have to be on top of their games to prevent either of them from scoring, especially considering the pace that they will have to deal with and this is certainly a game we will almost have to score in if we are thinking of taking anything from it.

My own personal prediction is that it will probably be a tight match but one that we lose, but I certainly am looking forward to it and maybe we'll be lucky enough to walk away with all the points.

If we win we could realistically be looking to go as high as 8th. Though if results really went our way and several goals were scored we could find ourselves in sixth place by six on Saturday. It certainly is a credit to Hughes and the side that we our able to say that and that we are looking to this game thinking we could realistically take something from it.

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Certainly in the last two games against Arsenal, we never looked remotely like winning. That's got to change sometime although Saturday showed that our new effusive entertaining style comes and goes.

Will Hughes look to kill the game (and the odd Arsenal player whilst we are about it) or attack them? A huge amount depends on his assessment of whether we can get hold of midfield or at least get 50% of possession.

Rationality says Arsenal win but I'm plumping for a 2-2 draw.

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Arsenal have looked uncomfortable defensively this season. However, they can still slice teams open with their quality of passing combined with sublime movement. They can make good defences look ordinary. I would go for Nelsen and Zurab at the back. We need to set about them and get in their faces, as they don’t like it.

Having Bellamy is a fantastic asset to have and although not in the Henry class, he still poses a threat and opposition teams are wary of him.

Left back will be a problem for them so hopefully Emerton is fit and raring to go – nice to see an improvement in his play but there is still more to come from him.

Thoroughly looking forward to it.

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rover.gif as this is the last time we play at highbury i am not suprised we have sold out.i love highbury a fantastic ground,me and junior are going match tickets and coach journey for the princely sum off £20 each,i love junior rovers tinykit.gif
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a very tough game for the boys in blue, this weekend. a simliar result to waht happened at the theatre of crap, would be very nice. in saying that though a similar result to the one against man citeh would be very exceptable. i think we will have to play very well to get anything from the game!

"COME ON YOU BLUES"

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Can't believe we've sold out, how many tickets did we get?

I think we're playing well at the moment and against almost anyone else I'd be confident but the Arse are a good side in form and I can see them beating us 3-1.

By the way, that rule about loan players not being able to play is a joke. I would personally not allow loans between clubs in the same division but if they do allow them why can't the players play? Surely this gives an unfair advantage to teams who loan players out as they get to play against teams who can't pick their first choice 11. Obviousely this advantage only applies to the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal who have huge squads so therefore have to loan players out, its just not fair. Lets have maximum squad sizes so if clubs want to buy players they have to sell someone on rather than loaning them out.

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we sold 1,700.

Did we not get 3,000 for this game 2 years ago- which we sold out. As someone pointed out, i was sat next to an Arsenal fan that day so maybe there were a few of them in the mix.

We lost 1-0 with a Markus Babbel goal disallowed for no reason in a second half we dominated.

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I'm going on the away travel. Do you have time for a pint before the game when going with the away travel to London nowadays?

If so, where should I be looking to have a swift one (or three)?

It's a pity we don't have a flying right winger to give that Cygan the run around. He's the real weak link for them. Maybe isolate Bellamy against him?

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We are not the same side without Tugay - hope he can make it. Hughes says he is doubtful for Arsenal.

He is so important to us.

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Especially when you consider that without Viera Arsenal could well give him a lot of room.

If he doesnt make it the coice would be between Reid and the Axe. Neither of them inspire much confidence in actually creating something.

Get well Tugs!!

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I can't wait for this game.

I can see us firing out of the blocks and getting one in the first 10 mins.

Hopefully then we don't sit back, because if we do it will be 3-1 to the arse.

But if we don't sit back and play an open - free playing game i can see 2-1. Consolation goal for them with a very nervy 5 minutes of injury time.

Bellamy and Emerton for us!

Does anyone know if this game will be live on FOX over here in Oz?

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Arsenal are looking stronger now than they did at the start of the season. They might not have the best defense in the league, but with Henry in shape up front they will always create chances!

Our only hope of getting three points at Highbury is an injury to Henry and Van Persie in their Champions League match against FC Thun tonight.

I'm sure we will score at Highbury though, but they will score more I'm afarid.

Arsenal 3

Rovers 1

Henry x2, Van Persie

Bellamy

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well up for the match now, after the semi's last season we need some revenge!!

praying tugs will be fit, the library is so tight n narrow we need his creativity!!

the 2 games i remember most about this fixture:

1-1 sutton in the last few seconds of the game when we had to kick the ball back to arsenal after they kick it out for an injury and we hunted like dogs, won the corner and well....the rest is history....get in there!!!! was going wild!! biggrin.gif

2:1 friedel save after save after save!! amazing nothing less. it was like the goal had a brick wall on the line!! smoked about 100 fags the pub with jeff stelling going back to highbury every 30 secs in the second half on soccer saturday. happy days!! rover.gif even yorke scored ph34r.gif

shame bentley can't play, im sure he would of relished the oppertunity!!

i think we will start with (if fit):

friedel

neil zurab nelson gray

emerton savage tugs m.g.p

bellamy kuqi

subs enks jansen todd reid dickov

if we play attack minded like we did at the theartre of nightmares and lets see what happens!!

prediction: arsenal 0:2 blackburn rovers

scorers: neil 10, m.g.p 69

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