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The Arsenal vs. Blackburn

The Grove

17th February 2007


Arsenal V Blackburn

Arsenal should be full of confidence as they look to make it into the FA Cup sixth round on Saturday when they face Blackburn at Ashburton Grove. I`ll admit that I was among them that thought Arsenal would not make it to this stage after the 1-1 draw with Bolton in the last round.

As I`m sure most of you are aware, Arsenal`s record in the North West is far from perfect. The Gunners have suffered at the hands of Bolton, Blackburn and Liverpool amongst others there in the past. Whilst Arsenal have still suffered up north this season, their record is improved on last season.

Arsene Wenger has vowed to rotate his squad for the match ahead of Arsenal`s trip to Eindhoven in the week for the first leg of Arsenal`s Champions League first knock out round tie against PSV.

In their 2 games against Blackburn this season Arsenal have scored 8 and conceded 2. A slightly flattering 6-2 victory at The Grove and a convincing 2-0 win a Ewood Park saw Arsenal 'do the double` over Blackburn this season.

Vital Quotes:

Arsene Wenger praised Denilson ahead of the match against Blackburn, saying that after his performances in this season's Carling Cup he has earned the right to play in other competitions: "The Carling Cup side has won the right to play and some of them will feature in the FA Cup now," said Wenger.

"If I had never played Denilson in the Carling Cup I would never have played him at Bolton. The fact that he did so well in the Carling Cup won him the right to be involved up there, against Blackburn on Saturday and maybe even in the Champions League, I don`t know.

"Some players have grown through this Carling Cup competition and that means they will play in the other ones.'

The Arsenal Team News:

Excellent news - Billy Gallas is back in the squad for this one. The powerful defender hasn't played for almost 3 months but he could even start this game!

gilberto, Diaby, Baptista and Lehmann are all rested ahead of Tuesday's game against PSV while Alex Hleb (Cold), Johan Djourou (knee) and Robin Van Persie are all out. Major doubts remain over the fitness of Flamini and Eboue.

Player to watch: Cesc Fabregas

The young Spainard is due a goal. He hasn't scoed since his double over Zagreb back in August, despite being in outstanding form this season.

People have been saying this for the best part of 2 years now but I honeslty think that Fabregas is now coming of age. He is showing that he has what it takes to dominate games for 90 minutes at every level.

Blackburn Team News:

Blackburn's top scorer Benni McCarthy will miss out with an Achilles injury Along with Morten Gamest Pederson who misses out with a Hamstring injury.

Bruno Berner and Christopher Samba are both pushing for a starting place after missing out on Blackburn's Uefa Cup match midweek.

Player to watch: David Bentley

The Young winger/striker has looked the part for Blackburn this season, grabbing some important goals. He may not be living up to his original 'Next Dennis Bergkamp' tag, but was that ever realistic?

Clichy will have to keep a close eye on him and Rosicky will need to get back to support his left back.

Form Guide:

Arsenal are still unbeaten in the best part of 2 months, their last loss was a 1-0 defeat away to Sheffield United in December.

Arsenal have won half of their last 6 games, drawing the other 3.

Last 6 games: P6 W3 D3

Blackburn are in reasonable form. They gave a good account of themselves in midweek, despite losing 3-2 to Bayer Leverkusen.

Last 6: P6 W2 D0 L4

Match Prediction:

I think this is going to be a great FA Cup game. 3-2 to The Arsenal. Bentley and Nonda to make it 2-0 for Blackburn before Arsenal stage a superb comback to win 3-2 thanks to goals from Henry, Adebayor and Julio 'The Beast' Baptista.

Vital Member's View:

This week sees the return of our Member's view. To celebrate we have new Vital Arsenal singing Wingston's opinion on this weekend's match.

'As for the weekend's game, my main concern is the tiredness resulting from Wed's exertions, and Arsene's possible caginess in holding players back for the PSV CL tie, which he has admitted is the priority of the season.

With Benni McCarthy out, along with Pedersen (according to the BBC preview) , the main concerns would appear to fall onto Shabani Nonda and Bentley, who was missing in our fixture at Ewood Park.

Overall, i feel we'll have too much rovers, but we'll have to be on top of our game, and we've seen recently that sending out a jaded team can result in a real tussle for the right result (Boro away).

I have a feeling that Billy might get 20 mins tomorrow, and a suspicion that Theo could come on and nick a goal. I'd also like to see Kolo get a day off if possible... i think he needs it. A tense, nervy 2-1 to the Arse, going right to the wire.'

The Journalist

Writer: Nick Simmonett  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday February 16 2007

Time: 10:21PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Things are looking good for tomorrow. Blackburn seem to be missing a few key players. I cant help feeling optimistic for this game, and I predict a 3-1 result, coz we created so many chances against bolton away, and i can see more of the same at home. Interesting to see who starts upfront - ade and henry for me with ali on the bench. toure deserves a rest, but starting billy so soon may be a bit of a gamble.
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16/02/2007 22:48:00

Im a bit worried it may be an 'After the lord mayors show' performance after the exursions in mordor. Fingers crossed the players that come in will maintain the hunger and see us through!
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16/02/2007 22:49:00

For me Aliadiere deserves a start. He's starting to show some of the promise that made him so popular a few years back.
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16/02/2007 22:51:00

Ya simmy, i agree. that run of his to set up freddie was fantastic!! Though on form, ade and thierry should start, I think it may be a good idea to rest Ade for the CL game, and play Ali instead. I think its only a matter of time before Ali shows us what he's made of, and Arsene has been repeatedly saying what a great talent this guy is.
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16/02/2007 23:01:00

No worries here. 3-0.Easy Easy Easy!
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16/02/2007 23:03:00

I'm just concerned that we may have run ourselves into the ground on weds, somewhat. though the beauty of this squad right now is the depth of it, and the quality of that depth. Right now though, t appears that we're spread a trifle thinly in defence, where it appears to be a one in, one out policy. Really hope for a first time win tomorrow, as the last thing we need is another trip north of watford... »»Arsene Knows««
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16/02/2007 23:10:00

Denilson will play tomorrow I reckon. With the CL next week I'd wager Wenger will play him tomorrow as he has no intention of starting him against PSV.
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16/02/2007 23:16:00

Could be Rocky, I just wonder if he may be feeling the effects of 120 mins played on wednesday. But maybe all that tea at the palace will have reinvigorated his tired limbs... »»Arsene Knows««
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16/02/2007 23:39:00

I agree with Simmy as well. Personally, I'm really impressed with Aliadiere. Everyone's been praising Denilson, Hleb, Rosicky etc for their performance against Bolton(deserving), but little attention seemed to shine on Aliadiere. I'm up and ready to root for this fella and hope he'll get a chance tomorrow to show his skills. I really hate predicting scores because I'm so terrible at them. But here goes something~ 2-0 with Fabregas scoring the first, and Ali coming in with a suave kick of the ball to net for the 2nd.
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17/02/2007 01:00:00

Okay, granted Ali didn't play till the very very end, but still! xP
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17/02/2007 01:01:00

I will jump on the Aliadiere bandwagon as well. The boy needs a start and he deserves it, too. Tomorrow I see us going through after an easy 2-1 win. (HT: 2-0, of course)
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17/02/2007 01:31:00

who is the ref tomorrow?
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17/02/2007 01:49:00

Agree with everyone Aliadiere and Denislson should start and we will win 3-1.
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17/02/2007 07:15:00

the game won't be so easy folks. blackburn will come out to prove a point after two embarassing losses against us earlier in the season. it'll be a hard earned 1-0 win for us..
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17/02/2007 07:16:00

and Simmo, haven't we had enough of comebacks at the Grove :p..
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17/02/2007 07:17:00

G4L, it be the man known as Martin Artkinson (Yorkshire) - the only man in the world to have brackets as part of his surname... »»Arsene Knows««
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17/02/2007 07:20:00

I reckon this is going to be a tough game for Rovers and unfortunately one that I think your 'boys' will prosper in (I don't mean boys in a derogitory sense). We haven't won in London all season, we are incapable of mathcing you, whichever way we play.....foregone conclusion i think. Still Im looking for to it as I do with every Rovers game. Good luck to your lot!
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17/02/2007 11:01:00

I hope Clichy be rested but I think with Bentley on their right side he might have to play. Another who needs to be rested is King kolo.
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17/02/2007 11:32:00

Well that was disappointing :(
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17/02/2007 14:24:00

what a stupid game...blackburn should have called in sick.
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17/02/2007 14:26:00

another replay, one more game in an already packed shedule, we had a penalty and should have deservedly won it as we were the only side who tried to play and win..
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17/02/2007 14:34:00

Disappointing game...I am not holding breath for Arsenal winning these type of matches without Rosicky and Hleb playing for full 90 min. I knew this is going to happen when I saw the team sheet. No creativity apart from Fabrigas and he was struggling to impose himself. His effectiveness is enhanced atlest 2/3 times by Rosicky and hleb in the wings and Ade in front. game came on to life only after TR7 came on to the pitch with Ade. A little too late and too little. I wont even begrudge Rovers the penalty. They doen just enough to contain us. It is really upto us to break them apart and say, if you park the bus in front of your goal, then U PAY.
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17/02/2007 14:37:00

Having said that I am also pretty sure that we will win the return leg on Feb 28th.
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17/02/2007 14:38:00

luckys_10 yeah we played for the win but can you really say we did anything significant for the first 75 minutes. Your right another game is the last thing we need this late into the season :( Yeah the penalty decision was bad, but then again some people would argue that against wigan that penalty decision was bad so it evens up.
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17/02/2007 14:38:00

ah one more thing..freddie looked very frail. any touch he goes down. compare him to rosicky. u know what i mean about tenacity. I am not saying there were no fouls, but something is missing.
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17/02/2007 14:54:00

AB u r completely right, it is not worth ranting over, lets wait for our heavyweights to play, then we will definitely blow them away.
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17/02/2007 14:55:00

questforavalon i agree when we start with rosicky,hleb and anyone but flamini we will blow them away........hopefully :)
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17/02/2007 15:05:00

As much as he works hard flam is not arsenal qualtiy, freddie keeps falling down( even thou i like his runs in the box he is done). Walcott should always be subbed on so he kill off the D when there tired. Should have made those subbs at the start of the 2nd half. At least gallas had a good run and clichy got some well deserved rest. Lest finish PSV in the first leg.
Youngest in Charge
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17/02/2007 15:32:00

what a turd of a game. dull as any game I've seen this season. Blackburn obviously came with a game plan, and they carried it off well. You can'\t blame them, they obviously got burned last tie when they came to the grove and set out to play. it was up to us to break them down and we justnever really looked like we had the ability to do that today, on too many occasions at least.Poor ol' theo looked incredibly apprehensive at the start, took him a while to start trying out some tricks to beat a man, but he was well marshalled by warnock, and on the other wing, fred just never looked like beating his man (there's no way in the world i'm trying to spell THAT name!) »»Arsene Knows««
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17/02/2007 15:50:00

Actually Flamini is good when we are playing some superior team above our weight(which happens very rarely) in terms of footballing ability(like the match with Chelsea). He could de very well in the PL matches when we have an early lead in the first half and need to protect it until 90 min. So I say we score the first goal in first 20 min and then unleash Flamini and rest someone like Fab/Rosicky.
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17/02/2007 16:11:00

freddie has always been like this. you cant doubt his tenacity, but he always wins us loads of free kicks and if you see the stats in the last five years, he's always been our most fouled player. you can't judge him on this game, he is just coming back from a long lay off and when all the big guns are playing, his game will be better too..
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17/02/2007 16:28:00

is henry having a laugh, if these dosplays continue he WILL be sold !!
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17/02/2007 16:30:00 time game saver for Blackburn! Those two massive saves were the most exciting part of the entire match unfortunately.
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17/02/2007 17:23:00

This is good... Blackburn manager Mark Hughes had a run-in with teenage Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas when the Spanish teenager asked him after a goalless, soul-destroying fifth-round draw at The Emirates: 'Did you really play for Barcelona?' Hughes explained: 'He came off the pitch and asked me if I had played for Barcelona and when I said that, yes I did, he said something to the effect of `that wasn't Barcelona football, was it ?' `Sparky` flew into a fury, gesturing at Fabregas as he went down the tunnel after his sniping remark. Fabregas, a Barcelona fan from a lad, later apologised to Hughes but was frustrated by a 90-minute rearguard action by Rovers which earned a replay at Ewood Park next Wednesday.
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17/02/2007 17:28:00

Yeah, spot on guys. the game WAS boring coz of blackburn, but i dont blame them either. We need to beat teams like that, otherwise more teams are going to do just that at the emirates in the premiership and try to get away with a draw. I thought Denilson in midfield instead of Flamini in this game could have possibly made a difference. theo and his touches were poor today. clichy made an immediate impact as soon as he came on. We cant blame injuries or blackburn for this draw. the side arsene put out today was good enough to win this game.
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17/02/2007 19:07:00

Walcott and Ljungberg aren't ready for action. They can come on as subs in games that are done and dusted until they improve (or leave) It looked like we'd win when Rosicky and Ade came on. Before that we had no joy on the wings, Henry and Ali had to drop way back.
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17/02/2007 19:28:00

Why is AW insisting playing Theo on the right? Why not switch him on the left where he could cut inside? At least 15-30 mins a game.
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17/02/2007 20:34:00

Because if he can't cut outside, there is no way he can cut inside.
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17/02/2007 21:45:00

i remember seeing him score a few nice goals from the left.
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17/02/2007 22:46:00


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