Writer: Nick Simmonett
Date:Friday December 22 2006
23rd December 2006
Gunners old boy David Bentley returns to play against his previous employers on saturday as Arsenal take on a Blackburn side that has ben far from its best on the load of late, failing to keep a clean sheet in their last live domestic away games.
Arsenal may not have fully settled into their new home yet but they are one of only three teams unbeaten at home this season (the other two are Chelsea and L'pool). Of their 13 home games this season arsenal have won seven and drawn six.
Arsenal won the corresponding fixture last season 3-0 thanks to goals from Fabregas, Henry and Van Persie.
Arsenal boss Arsene wenger says that the title is not yet out of Arsenal's reach:'It would look a bit pretentious to say that we will be champions this time - but on the other hand, I have not given up. I feel there is potential in this team and we're not missing a lot'
Le Boss says that Lauren is close to his return but he will not play against Blackburn: "He played 70 minutes in a friendly against a Vietnamese team," said Wenger. "But he needs three or four games to be completely back. We cannot just throw him straight back in after such a long period out."
Rovers boss Mark Hughes: 'Emerton, Khizanishvili and Henchoz are all available again, so that's a boost. And David Bentley will be fired up against his old club, so lets hope he can get another winner like the one against Reading'
Tomas Rosicky is it enough to start but Wenger is yet to make a decision as to weather he will or not. Flamini has recovred from a shoulder injury and will battle it out with Rosicky for a starting place.
Eboue has suffered an ankle injury so he joins Henry, Gallas, Ljungberg and Diaby on the sidelines.Ljungberg and Diaby on the sidelines.
The midfielder seems to relish playing against team like Blackburn and will be keen to make an impact on his return.
Blackburn's top scorer Benni McCarthy is suspended but Henchoz returns from his suspension.
Khizanishvili and Brett Emerton could both return to the team but Mokoena is a doubt.
The former Gunner scored last weekend and will be up for the game against his old club.
Howard Webb will referee the game. He has taken control of two Arsenal games this season. The 2-1 defeat to Fulham when he sent of Senderos and booked Song, Senderos, Rosicky, Van Persie and Flamini. He also took control of the 3-0 victory over Watford booking no Arsenal players.
I usually tell you to go and look on the forum but as it's nearly Christmas I'll put it on the preview. I'm going with a 3-0 Arsenal win. Arsenal are better equipped to handle the physical presence of players like Robbie 'ave it' Savage this season. Van Persie and Adebayor are both playing well at the moment and I can see a goal from each of them along with a goal from rosicky.
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Date:Friday December 22 2006
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