Let me start by stating the views held below are entirely my own and in no way represent the views of the site.
Anyone who has read my pre-matches over the seasons will know that I am not a huge fan of Blackburn, I will go further and say that for many seasons they have represented all that is reprehensible in football – from top to bottom.
Let’s look at their recent record:
Managers: Graham Souness, Paul Ince, Fat Sam, Mark Hughes, Steve Kean. Only Dalglish brought some respectability to this awful club and he was sacked (by mutual consent). The last 3 seasons have seen them reach their nadir – from the non-football of the Walrus through to Kean’s commitment to the “big man.”
Ownership.: Jack Walker (the first man to buy the PL), the Chicken chaps – the chicanery of the promotion of Kean by the Venky’s, whom it is said had no conception there was relegation in football and the PL was based upon the franchise system as in the NFL!
Players: El Hadj Diouf, Robbie Savage, David Bentley, Craig Bellamy (both players of the season!) – they are united in their awulness.
If you enjoy utilitarian football allied to workmanlike players who are encouraged to “get in their faces,” then Blackburn is the club for you. The management are at best pragmatic. There is a reason Blackburn are most peoples favourites for relegation.
What should we expect from a team based around the physical presence of Yakubu, Samba, Jason Roberts? Tactically, I guess they will be very energetic, pack the midfield, look to stifle our creative players, defend in depth to stop the pace merchants, hit a number of long balls to the isolated front man and look to score from set pieces. They do have quality, Givet and Samba are two fine players, Dunn has been, and in Hoilett they have the makings of a top player.
To turn to the men in the white hats, we celebrate the return of the violent miscreants: Song, Gervinho and Jenkison, two of whom I expect to play today. Song was outstanding in Germany and I look forward to a more mature performance from him than the idiocy with Barton.
Gibbs has played twice in a week and being fragile could use the rest, furthermore I would like to see Santos play – he is supposedly a fine attacking LB and despite Holliet being a right winger, should have plenty of opportunities to get forward. Should Benayoun start ahead of Arshavin? In a game which is likely to get physical – yes.
Today’s referee is Andy Marriner (I think). Let us hope he gets early control and that our team can keep 11 players on the pitch.
Blackburn as everyone knows has 400o holes in it (Lennon was referring to the appalling state of the local roads). What is less known is that Mitchell and Kenyon who were pioneers in the development of cinematography lived in Blackburn until 1901.
A tough away game with Blackburn looking to dig themselves out of a hole (sic) having won just one point so far this season but one that Arsenal have reason to be positive about.
N.B. Don’t forget the 12.45 kick-off!