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Blackburn Preview / Come on West Ham 2 April, 2011

Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.

Things are really heating up in this title race now, we lost ground on Man United last weekend so we need to make sure we don’t drop points two games in a row otherwise we could find ourselves out of this race very quickly indeed. Man United kick off at West Ham now and if they manage to win there we will be 8 points behind the leaders going into our 5.30pm kick off this evening. In that scenario a win for us would take us back to 5 points behind with that game against Spurs in hand but if United do win I think a draw or loss for us today could be devastating.

I’m looking at this optimistically though. United lost 4-0 there in November in the Carling Cup and I don’t think they will find it easy at Upton Park today. It’s a ground where any team can drop points and West Ham will be well up for this one. I wouldn’t like to bet on this being a win, loss or a draw today – it’s one of those ones that could go either way but I’m hoping the Hammers can do us a favour and help us make some ground on the league leaders. It’s one of United’s remaining fixtures that I picked out as a potential day for dropped points and to be honest there isn’t a lot of those days so I’m really hoping West Ham can get something.

However whatever happens there we need to do the business ourselves. Whatever the result at Upton Park 3 points it’s absolutely vital for us. We just have to win as many as we can until the end of the season to give us a chance and I believe we should be winning today. Blackburn haven’t won at the Emirates in their last four visits and they’re currently without a win in seven league matches leaving them a point off the relegation zone. Now if you’re a team that’s looking to win the league like Arsenal – you have to take advantage of that and make sure you win.

The team news is good. RVP, Cesc, Walcott, Song, Diaby and Bendtner are all in the squad, just Aaron Ramsey and Denilson miss out; the new Wales captain has picked up a groin strain but I don’t think it’s anything to worry about too much. The return of Fabregas, Walcott and Song is a huge, huge boost. It’s exactly what we’ve been missing in recent weeks; the skill, vision and passion of the captain, the pace and danger of Theo and a bit of stability in defense and midfield from Song. With those three back, I fancy our chances a lot more. We’ve really missed them in recent weeks and where we’ve dropped points at West Brom and Sunderland I think they probably could’ve been avoided with those three in the side. It gives the line up a more familiar look, more stability yet more danger going forward and this afternoon I think it will look something like this:

Sagna – Squillaci – Koscielny – Clichy
Song – Wilshere
Fabregas (c)
Walcott – van Persie – Nasri

Other than the goalkeeper and centre backs that’s the best side we have, however with Song back those three will get more cover. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Almunia is going to have one of his good days, he’s shown he can do it he just needs to concentrate and make no more silly errors. He’s got the backing of the manager and a mad German waiting in the wings if he slips up again.

Blackburn have got some injury boosts of their own. David Dunn, Samba and Phil Jones are all back in the side. They’re now too somewhere near their strongest XI but I still think/hope we are better than them and will take the three points today. It’s great to be able to type that front line up of Walcott, van Persie and Nasri with Fabregas behind once again, that four will threaten any defense around and I think that will be what wins us the points today. I can see us conceding but I fancy us to score at least a couple ourselves today.

The time to start digging in was ages ago but today it’s another massive day for Arsenal. The players need to be giving their all now every single week. The fans too, we need to support the boys, get behind the team and shout and scream us all the way over the finish line. Emphasis on that word ‘support’ there, now is not the time to be criticizing and moaning – that’s not going to achieve anything. We just have to get behind them whoever is out there on the pitch. I’m talking about people like Almunia, he might not be the most popular of guys at the moment but he’s all we’ve got and we have to try and give him some confidence. I’m hoping that there will be a decent atmosphere inside the ground today, we’re at the stage now where every game is huge and I’m hoping that’s enough to generate some decent noise today.

The United vs. West Ham game has just kicked off so I’m going to wrap this up and go watch that. It’s set to be another exciting afternoon of Premier League football, I’ve missed it. Come on West Ham, come on Arsenal, lets do it.

Enjoy the game.


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