Time to step up and perform – Arsenal v Blackburn preview
That might have been a very successful interlull period for Arsenal. A miserable run of results and downbeat players given some breathing space for Wenger to tell them they can start afresh in April, forgetting the past 5 weeks or so. Furthermore; Walcott, Song and Fabregas all got time the needed to return to fitness. Each of the 3 are essential to the power and tempo Arsenal endeavour to operate at.
Fingers (permanently) crossed for Robin van Persie. Early news was he was taken off due to bruising and should be fit for Blackburn. He will want to play, he has an astonishing scoring record against them.
Another bonus is Aaron Ramsey joins the small stable of those who captain their country at full national level. He has great talent and close control, with ability to create fluent attacks with an end product. He see’s the final pass and can finish those balls in front of goal himself. I used to feel he did not show the personality on the pitch in the way that Fabregas, Wilshere, Gerrard, Keane and Vieira have all done when they seize control of the game. That angry hunger has been missing. However, becoming captain of his country will force him in front of camera’s and journalists to be more open. This could lead to a more assertive player on the pitch.
And so a good mood should be returning to London Colney. The players will congratulate Ramsey and tell him he deserves it.
I expect Wenger to play the following side versus Blackburn:
Almunia – Sagna – Squillaci – Koscielny – Clichy – Song – Diaby - Fabregas – Walcott – Van Persie – Nasri
Apart from Squillaci and Almunia, it will scare Blackburn. Their game plan will be to target Almunia with crosses right under our crossbar and Samba will be all over it. Hopefully this explains why I selected Diaby not Wilshere – it is necessary for set pieces. Incidentally, I felt Wilshere looked a bit weary for England against Ghana. Perhaps a rest is in order.
I predict an early Arsenal goal by Van Persie, an equaliser from a set piece, followed by a Fabregas winner in last 10 minutes. Arsenal 2-1 Blackburn.
Let’s hope it’s more comfortable!