A question to Blackburn supporters. Would you prefer to finish 10th playing the Fat Sam way or 13th playing some entertaining football?
An indication of the success of Fat Sam’s tactics at Blackburn lies in the question marks surrounding the appearance of Fabregas – in his first full game back do we risk him getting mauled? Undoubtedly Allardyce’s tactics will focus on our playmakers and their ability to perform under great physical pressure. We can expect rotational fouling, badgering of the referee, the soundtrack of “Same old Arsenal always cheating” accompanying Colin Lewin onto the field as he tries to patch up a prone player who has been assaulted by a less talented but more aggressive opponent.
It is Allardyce’s contention that football is not about the ball, it is about the man. Blackburn have little chance of success playing expansive football (if they could) but they can bully us into submission. Their primary goal scoring opportunities will come from set plays where they will surround our GK and hope to intimidate our defence. It has worked in the past and should it work on Saturday, we can expect a whole season of lesser teams practising the same.
However, we need to win games like this and we can. I would play Cesc, Theo and Rosicky, as we will win through guile, pace and skill.
As to the Blackburn team, should he play, look out for Biram Diouf (not the hissy spitting one), on loan from Man Utd and a forward in form. Gamst Pederson is still there (god knows why) and will pepper our box with long throws. David Dunn is a typical Allardyce player and has a nasty knack of scoring against us.
Apart from the 4000 holes what can I tell you about Blackburn? Carl Fogerty was born there, as was James Hargreaves, the inventor of the spinning jenny. Gandhi visited on his tour of England, and Blackburn has the highest percentage population of Muslims outside of London. Not much to show for 700 years of history!
A big game for us and an indicator of how the season may progress