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Blackburn Rovers vs. Arsenal

Ewood Park



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Arsenal will take a very much changed squad to Ewood Park on Tuesday when they face Blackburn in the Carling Cup Quater Final.

Arsenal may have suffered something of a dip in for in recent weeks but the Gunners showed what they are capable of when they out played and out fought Chelsea to grab a 1-0 win on Sunday.

Blackburn, however, have won only one of their last 6 games (3-1 V Newcastle) and were on the wrong end of a 5-3 thriller at the weekend as Wigan looked to climb out of the relegation zone.

A Roque Santa Cruz hat trick was not enough to get anything from the game. A superb performance from Marcus Bent helped secure Wigan the spoils. How long before Spurs claim that their Lasange was spiked and Charlton sold them the 'Wrong Bent'?

Anyway, back to all things Arsenal.

Robin Van Persie, Theo Walcott, Eduardo Da Silva and the impressive Nicklas Bendtner will all be fighting for a start up front.

With Wenger likely to deploy a 4-5-1, it might be too much to ask of Van Persie to start so soon after coming back from injury, and with Theo Walcott and Eduardo both slight in build, Bendtner would be the obvious choice to start up front.

There are question marks over Diarra's commitment to Arsenal after he was reported to have told L'equipe that he wants to leave Arsenal. If it turned out to be untrue, it wouldn't be the first time the French sports publication had mis-quoted a player.

His reported comments could see him ommited from Arsene Wenger's squad for the trip to Blackburn. Wenger will not want to do anything to compromise the harmony in the dressing room.

If Diarra doesn't travel then two of Denilson, Diaby and Gilberto will almost certainly occupy the middle of the park for Arsenal, although Flamini has already declared his egarness to play.

There will be no such rotation from Mark Hughes. He will field the strongest team at his disposal as Blackburn look to qualify for Europe.

Vital Quotes:

Rover's gaffer Hughes is under no illusions as to the task his team face when they play Arsenal. He told Blackburn's official website: 'This is a major cup quarter-final with plenty at stake and both teams keen to progress. Whatever team we face will be an outstanding one crammed with top players.

'Obviously as they are playing Sunday-Tuesday, I would imagine it will be a completely different team that the one which faced Chelsea on Sunday, but obviously they have a very strong bench.

I would certainly expect the likes of van Persie and young Bendtner, who hasn't had a lot of football of late, to be involved.

'When you are talking about players of that quality it shows the strength Arsenal have at their disposal. It is wrong to call them fringe players, Arsene has two strong teams to choose from the one excellent squad of players.

'They are an outstanding team , but we've been successful in the past by not allowing them to play the type of football that they want and on occasions they do get frustrated at that and you can take advantage .

'You've got to be strong enough to go up against them and affect them and try to dictate to them. We are at home, we've got a point to prove and that is what we'll be looking to do.'

Arsene Wenger told that he will make some major changes to his team after The Gunners' victory over Chelsea: 'The Carling Cup is more of a squad game, because we decided as a squad to go for every single trophy. Many players that didn't play against Chelsea will play at Blackburn on Tuesday night.

'My expectation is to qualify and go into the semi-finals, because we want to come back as well as we did last year and as well it is a good opportunity for my squad to show how strong the players who didn't play against Chelsea are.

'I believe in them, and it is good (for the fringe players) to show me 'we knock at the door and we want to play in the first team'.

'We use the competition for our players to grow up - but not only to grow up. It is also to show they are good enough to play in the Champions League and the Premier League.

'I believe as well what is fantastic is to see these players respond under the pressure of Premier League teams, and you can detect who is ready and who is not ready.'

Blackburn Rovers Team News:

Blackburn will be without defensive duo Brett Emerton and Andre Ooijer on Tuesday. Emerton is suspended after picking up a red card against Wigan, while Ooijer is out with a Hamstring injury picked up two weeks ago.

Matt Derbyshire is expected to keep Benni McCarthy out of the team.

Player to watch: David Bentley

The England midfielder has shown how talented he is so far this season, with some great goals and fantastic performances.

He'll keep Armand Traore busy throughout.

Arsenal Team News:

Manu Eboue is the only Arsenal player suffering from injury after Joe Cole took him out of the game on Sunday.

Fabregas, Hleb, Flamini and Van Persie all came through the game on Sunday unscathed, although it is unlikely the first three will play much part in the game.

Senderos could get a rare start in the centre of defence, with Hoyte and Traore occupying the full back posistions.

Player to watch: Nicklas Bendtner

The young Dane has continued to impress as he get's more playing time. He didn't get long against Chelsea, but still looked un-fazed and very sharp.

If he starts, he'll hold the ball up well and bring others into play, just as he did against Sevilla.

Match Prediction:

I'll go for a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes and Arsenal to snatch it in extra time. Blackburn's form and loss of two defenders will cost them dear.

Foot Note:


The Journalist

Writer: Nick Simmonett  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday December 17 2007

Time: 10:15PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
god i hope we beat these dirty cheats ( i know that sounds ironic with my username )
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17/12/2007 22:41:00

Wonder is Diarra will get a pass on this one after flapping his trap
Report Abuse
17/12/2007 22:55:00

I am really looking forward to seeing our CC squad again, makes a nice change after the extremely high-intensity games we've been through recently. It does seem more important than usual as well, having been in the final last year, and it would be a shame for our youngsters to go out so early, and for us not to be in all competitions still. I really want these guys to win the trophy. It would be such an incredible testament to our football club.
Report Abuse
17/12/2007 22:59:00

I fully expect us to lose this game. With our youngsters and there full team I think we're in trouble. 2-1 to Blackburn.
Ozi Gooner
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17/12/2007 23:53:00

me too, expect to lose, hope to win
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 00:03:00

I just heard on Sky Sports News that Theo and Robin are both likely to start. Maybe Robin and Bendtner up front with Theo on the wing. I really thought that we could lose this game with all kids but Robin Van Persie is playing and we all should know his record against Blackburn!! RVP to run a riot at Ewood and Arsenal to progress :)
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 00:05:00

Going to be difficult. no question about that. It all depends on how we defend really. We do possess lots of good attacking options in RVP, Niky B, Theo, and a strong midfield. But dealing with santa cruz, derbyshire and (if he plays) mccarthy. bently too, but i fancy armand to do a good job on him. I rate this left back EXTREMELY highly. We could even have the two best left backs in the world in a few years. nice....
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 00:22:00

Can I say come Liverpool too?
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18/12/2007 00:41:00

Yes, expect to lose, hope to win. But I'm an ultimately hopeful person. :) The kids last year went to places like Everton and Liverpool and got all the way to Cardiff. I think our squad this year is even stronger with the likes of Traore and Denilson a year older and more experienced. Bendtner and Eduardo have looked at least just as good as Baptista and Aliadiere last year, yes? I'd expect a defence of Hoyte, Senderos, one of Kolo/Gallas, Traore, with Fabianski behind them; Theo (if he's back from injury), Denilson, Gilberto/Diarra (if Arsene can "make him happy" by playing him), one of Hleb/Flamini, Gibbs in LM; Bendtner and Eduardo up front; 2-3 other first-teamers like RvP on the bench maybe. The only thing I'm a bit concerned about is the defence, yes Rob, Santa Cruz et al are tough.
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 00:41:00

If Van Persie is playing I feel we will defiantely win. For Arsenal agaisnt Blackburn he has started 4 games and come on as a sub in 2 games and he has scored 7 goals! Absolutely Amazing!!
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 01:45:00

Whats up all this doom and gloom, pleased your still staying on the fence Simmo. Go you mighty gunners. Me in my heart a win of course.
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18/12/2007 01:51:00

I actually think we might win this game 1-0 our CC team are always looking to impress and i this might give them the incentive t beat Blackburn. If RVP plays then i just hope he doesn't get injured.
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18/12/2007 03:17:00

I actually think we might win this game 1-0 our CC team are always looking to impress and i think this might give them the added incentive to beat Blackburn. If RVP plays then i just hope he doesn't get injured.
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 03:17:00

If RVP starts he will get injured. Blackburns defenders and midfielders are thugs and dont know any other way to deal with him. The risk is not worth the positives that could come from it, save him to further the Totts misery.
Ozi Gooner
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18/12/2007 03:49:00

well he hasn't been injured playing them before and that prediction can apply to any game he plays so that shoudln't be the reason to keep him out. he may need the game for sharpness but thats up to wenger he looked sharp in my book even though he missed a good chance against the losing team on sunday.
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18/12/2007 04:22:00

Do you think the boss wants to rid himself of Diarra SUX2BU? The boss made the following statement "I'm unhappy that he is unhappy and we will try to make him happy. It takes some months to integrate in the club and he arrived late," said the Arsenal manager. "We live in a world of competition for places and we have to accept that. This statement seems to lend itself to him keeping Diarra. We really do need back up in all departments, example was the recent blip we went through. IMO Diarra will stay and although Eduardo is having a lean time like Helb had they will both feature predominately in the future.
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18/12/2007 05:36:00

blackburn have chelsea on the weekend so if they field a strong side tonight they're foolish. could be an easier game than many think...
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18/12/2007 06:24:00

i think diarra will stay he may even play tonight, as much as we want those comments to stay out of the press you can see where he is coming from coz he would start on most teams I do however think he is being a tad impatient was only a few months ago that matusso was leaving and now he's a superstar.
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 06:29:00

It would be a shock if Arsenal didn't win. Our (by our I mean Blackburn) form has been shocking. I wouldn't be surprised if we got beat 4 or 5-0 (2 of the goals coming in the last 5 minutes, as we will be pressing forward to try and retreive something from the game. The scoreline will flatter you, but you should win.
Decimus Poole
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18/12/2007 09:01:00

Why is RVP playing ? Surely, Bendtner, Dudu & Theo are chomping at the bit for a start. Bendtner certainly is the man to watch - very impressive in the last game he started. This will be a tough game, and Hughes' comments are an indication of what we can expect - that they will not allow us to play our football. Diarra should nto start. Starting him now will send out the wrong messsage to the squad - moan, and you will get playing time. Denilson & Gilberto for me.
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 10:35:00

I think we will lose, but only because of the defence. Hoyte, Senderos & Co just don't look up to the job in these games & I can't see them keeping a strong forward line quiet. Our midfield & forward line is pretty much as good as anything out there, but just think the likes of Bentley & Cruz will get too much joy out of players like Senderos who can't jump under pressure to save his life!!
Ashburton Gooner
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18/12/2007 10:54:00

At least it's a game we can enjoy watching after the pulsating game against Chavs and the Spuds coming to town at the weekend. If we lose it isn't the end of the world, but I have learned my lesson now of underestimating our youngsters.
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 10:55:00

Your goona spank em....BIG TIME
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18/12/2007 12:58:00

We have so many superb youngsters, but funnily enough none of them seem to be centre-backs. Traore is great & J. Hoyte is decent but at CB we don't have anything for now, which is why Song gets to play there. Nordveit will probably get a chance next season & Kyle Bartley is supposed to be great but they are a little off at present (Nordveit more through injury I think).
Ashburton Gooner
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18/12/2007 13:00:00

Should be a good game at ewood park and a fancy blackburn to get get a result but if arsenal play there football there can only be 1 outcome !
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 13:01:00

The squad has been announced - no RVP (phew), Theo (damn), or Gilberto (I was hoping he's start instead of Diarra). We will see one of the kids starting at RW - Gibbs or Randall. Id love to see Merida start a game, but Diarra & Denilson will mostly start, with Diaby at LW. Dudu & Bendtner up front.
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 13:24:00

Hopefully Bentley will be up for this one again! looking forward to a good match guys
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18/12/2007 13:38:00

squad average age= 19.5 years old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! oldest player Eduardo (24)
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18/12/2007 14:39:00

Not feeling too hopeful about this one, and hope there's no lingering bad vibes from the Diarra situation. We maybe could have thrown at least one senior centre back in to shore things up. At least we'll get to see more of the youngsters. Gibbs played left midfield in the emirates cup and was hugely impressive. Watch out for a monster performance from Song too ;-)
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 14:40:00

Its going to be interesting to see who plays in defence tonight!!
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 15:03:00

Feeling a rovers win on the horizon... we've waited long enough...!
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18/12/2007 15:07:00

Quite tough for a team of kids. I'm not worried about the strikers, Bendtner and Eduardo a good enough partnership. Midfield would be like Denilson, Diarra, Song/Randall, Diaby; Traore, Senderos, Gavin Hoyte/Song, Justin Hoyte at the back; with Fabianski behind them of course. Yes we're a bit short of CB's but G Hoyte is a good youngster from what we've heard so far. It's about new faces anyway, I'd be very interested to see Gibbs, Randall (who're more ready to get into the CC team) and Nacer Barazite (new kid, but has impressed at the youth level), but I doubt if they'll get much playing time, maybe Gibbs is closer to a starting place because of the RW void.
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 15:41:00

Sorry, I meant LW void.
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 15:41:00

I dont expect them to play much tonight but i really want to see Barazite and Merida get some decent first team action at some point
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 15:58:00

Yes I'm very interested in seeing Fran Merida too. But CM is packed in the first team, making CM slots also at a premium in the CC side with Denilson, Diarra, Diaby and Song all eligible. Denilson and Diaby might have to play on the wings if there's no Gibbs. If we are in a winning position, I really really hope Arsene will send on Barazite - he did look impressive in youth game videos and we haven't seen him play. The scary word has it that he's like a young RvP. OMG RvP's only 24! And isn't it scary also when Cesc's 20 we've already got a like-for-like kid in Merida waiting down the line?
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 16:25:00

Hey scum fans hows it going ... ;-)? What are you lot worrying about, you will probably thrash Blackburn nicely. I doubt we (the mighty Spurs ... lol) will get a result away to City however if we do, (both) go through it would be nice to get you lot again in the next round ... at some point in the future we will beat you dirty scummy barstards ;-) ... how do you say it ... ??? "UP THE ARSENAL" (for your match tonight) lol.
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 16:30:00

im glad im not going been to blackburn before and its a *****ehole of a town.
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 16:42:00

Oh phew! The news has it that UEFA has decided not to give Arsene further touchline ban for his refusal to go to the stand after being sent off at Sevilla. I was sweating a bit as Rijkaard apparently got his ban extended for a similar offence. Only imagining Arsene not being there when we face one of Real, Barca, Inter, Milan and Porto was scary enough! Just doesn't bear thinking! No idea how UEFA rules things, but what the hell. And NOW I'd love to draw Barca when Rijkaard can't be there. Ha ha ha ha ha! :D
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 16:59:00

OnlyOneHotspur - the latest offering off of the conveyor belt of comedians at White Spud lane. The "at some point in the future we will beat you" is another instant classic! You guys should visit here more often... cheers me up no end!
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 17:22:00

2-2 Arsenal to win on pens.
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 17:47:00

Andy-bayor - haha I will ... its interesting to see the difference in attitudes between scum fans and Spurs fans. Not many of you lot feel confident about getting a win tonight ... however if my team was in your position I'd expect a victory as standard. You guys should be beating Blackburn home or away ... I'm surprised that a lot of you aren't putting this result down as a 'banker' away win?
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 18:05:00

OnlyOneHotSpur what happened when Blackburn came down to White Hart Lane this year? SAMBA!!!!!
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 18:43:00

OOH, the reason we're not banking on it, is probably because we know you can get beat by anyone, and our manager is playing the kiddies tonight, and they might have to contend with the Butchers of Blackburn!! Another reason we're not being too cocky is that our season surpassed most of our expectations (the opposite of what happenned to yours) so far, and we ain't in a hurry to count our chickens perhaps, or for that matter start threads like "We are going to overtake United" hehehe
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 18:59:00

After looking at the team selection. I am sh****n my pants. Arsenal looses 3-0 Bentley,Rocque and Mccarthy to score. Honestly,I dont realy mind carling cup.
Report Abuse
18/12/2007 19:32:00

Arsenal to lose 3-0? Are you really a Gooner? Blackburn is lucky to get the first goal cause it was an offside. Anyway, well done to the young Gunners.
Report Abuse
19/12/2007 01:35:00

I hope we play against tiny tots on the semis so scums like OnlyOneHotspur, can sh it on his pants and eat it.
Report Abuse
19/12/2007 06:24:00


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