Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Arsenal need to bounce back quickly in a season defining week.

With the loss of the Carling Cup final on Sunday, tonight's match takes on an even greater significance. Prior to Sunday, I may have tolerated a defeat, on the basis of us progressing in the CL next Wednesday and us having some silverware in the bag from Sunday. Now we have three games in a week which are all tricky fixtures, but must-wins nonetheless.

Beating Blackburn is a huge ask tonight, even with a full-strength time, let alone the motley bunch of youths and squad members we'll send out tonight. But if we were to lose tonight, draw on Saturday, and not progress in the Champions League, we'll be looking at a situation in which with two and a half months of the season to go, securing Champions League qualification is the club's only target. After all the promise we've shown this season, that would be hard to take.

The team news for tonight is not great. Henry and Rosicky have both sustained injuries which may seem that out of the side for 2 to 3 weeks. Diaby, one of our better perfomers on Sunday, is injured and will be probably missing for about the same length of time. Kolo and Adey are suspended, there's a rumour that Hoyte has picked up a knock and Jens will be, yet again, 'rested'. Personally, I for one would love Jens to be in the mix tonight, but if he's not we're looking at a team along the lines of:

Almunia
Eboue Senderos/Gallas Djourou Gallas/Clichy
Hleb Gilberto Denilson Ljunberg
Aliadiere La Bestia


Walcott could start on the right, but at the beginning of the season he was usually brought on as as left-wing sub. I'm not sure why this stopped as he was quite effective cutting in from the left. Ljunberg should start but quite a few of us, despite his classic finish against Bolton, will be wondering how much more he can offer the team.

Gallas will play either centre half or left back, and Djourou will probably start.

Up front, our options are limited, with RvP, Thierry, and Adey all out. This is a massive chance
for Jeremie and The Beast, both of whom will probably be regretting their lack of impact in the final on Sunday. Both are essentially playing for their Arsenal futures so lets hope they can recreate some of their Carling Cup magic.

If everything works out we'll win, because even our reserves are a class above Blackburn's first XI. Bentley, McCarthy, Nonda and Pederson(sometimes), have class, but the rest of Blackburn's side are really just thuggish journeymen. However, it has been these types of players we've struggled against in recent years and the eternal pessimist in me can see Blackburn scraping a win in a dire encounter. I hope not, because winning the FA cup would mean a lot this year on its return to Wembley, and would also get this important week of to an excellent start.

9 comments:

The Saint said...

I think we can do it but the youngsters have got to keep their composure and not get rattled should Blackburn resort to bullying tactics. Senderos has got to keep focussed and concentrated too as Toure out is a big loss defensively against the likes of Nonda and McCarthy. In fact, I think Gilberto may just have a central defensive role because of this too. Otherwise, from an attacking front, I'm not too concerned as Ali and the Beast will do just fine but we'll need Denilson to have another good game. The same goes for Walcott. We may need extra time but we should be able to shade it this time. Go Gunners!

Kololives! said...

I agree that Gilberto may start at the back with a central midfield of Cesc and Denilson.

Probably Gallas and Senderos however, with a five man midfield and Aliadiere alone in attack.

If we pass and move we'll win, if we don't we won't!

Anonymous said...

i believe cesc to be rested tonight

Anonymous said...

The only thing that worries me is big Phil in the central defensive position with the likes of Benny Hill, or I mean Benny McCarthy breathing down his back. I always get a bit worried w/ Sendy at the back when the opposition has a speedy center forward in their ranks... If Denilison can step up and maintain the midfield with accurate passing, and can deliver good through balls I believe we can totally shut down Mark Hughes hacking, kicking side.... I also think a loss tonight would be devastating to our morale, this indeed is an important week ahead... As far as the upcoming CL match I have total faith that we can knick 2 goals, but we MUST keep them from scoring, so our defenders will have to step up especially with no Kolo in the mix... Question for you, has anyone recently seen Kolo's brother Yaya (sp) play for Monoco?? I watched him play last week in the MF and he dominated, possible pick up for us in the summer??? Anywho come you Arsenal, lets start winning some matches!
Detour Dave the Slave!!

Ad the gooner said...

We need to win tonite, VITAL. its a good thing that wenger has used the likes of denilson aliadiare and the beast in the carling cup as this has enabled them to be almost primed for these kinda games tonite. it will be intresting when everybody comes back wether wenger will make a defining move and give the likes of diaby and denilson a first 11 berth. i think this could possibly be our strongest team


lehman
Hoyte Gallas Toure Clichy

Daiby Fabregas Denilson Rosicky

ADE Henry

I dont think Hleb can quite cut he has no real pace and denilson in my opinion is better than gilberto and would make the transition team complete. wot do you think?

Anonymous said...

Well I hate to be right, but in my earlier post I said I was afraid of Big Phil going up against the speed/skill of Benny McCarthy, and thats exactly what put the nail in the coffin for Arsenal... Long ball out on the wing, Benny swoops over to it, goes right around/ beside Big Phil and slots in a TH-14 esq goal, 1-0 to Blackburnt and we're out of another cup, only CL left and were down 1-0 on agg already, this isnt good. We have Reading on Saturday at home, should be alright but w/ the current teams morale who knows, we maybe in for a fight, I mean they came back from 3-0 down v. Utd. to lose 3-2, so they have fight in them. I dont know where this team is going, growing pains yes, learning from them, well dont know??? Hleb looked terrible tonight, kept passing the ball to Blackburn more than to his own team, Gilberto wasn't much better and Aliadiere (sp) was non-factor, the Beast wasnt there either other than a few shots saved... AW needs to sit them down ASAP and get there heads screwed on right!! I love my Arsenal and I hate that I'm even blasting them somewhat, so come on.......
Detour Dave the Slave

Anonymous said...

Well I hate to be right, but in my earlier post I said I was afraid of Big Phil going up against the speed/skill of Benny McCarthy, and thats exactly what put the nail in the coffin for Arsenal... Long ball out on the wing, Benny swoops over to it, goes right around/ beside Big Phil and slots in a TH-14 esq goal, 1-0 to Blackburnt and we're out of another cup, only CL left and were down 1-0 on agg already, this isnt good. We have Reading on Saturday at home, should be alright but w/ the current teams morale who knows, we maybe in for a fight, I mean they came back from 3-0 down v. Utd. to lose 3-2, so they have fight in them. I dont know where this team is going, growing pains yes, learning from them, well dont know??? Hleb looked terrible tonight, kept passing the ball to Blackburn more than to his own team, Gilberto wasn't much better and Aliadiere (sp) was non-factor, the Beast wasnt there either other than a few shots saved... AW needs to sit them down ASAP and get there heads screwed on right!! I love my Arsenal and I hate that I'm even blasting them somewhat, so come on.......
Detour Dave the Slave

YTSL said...

Unfortunately, it's hard to beat a team that's largely made up of "thuggish journeymen" if, as was apparent last night, the referee's firmly on their side.

And for those who accuse me of whinging, I'll flourish the following stats:-

Fouls: Blackburn 29, Arsenal 11
Yellow cards: Blackburn 4 (two in the last 5 minutes of play), Arsenal 2

*And* we had one very decent penalty appeal denied and an arguably less solid penalty appeal rejected as well. :(

Antgrad said...

But, ytsl, there's only one static that matters.

Benny Hill 1 Big Phil 0.