Sunday, December 16, 2007

Blackburn vs. Arsenal: Match Preview

Only two days after defeating Chelsea in the Premier League Arsenal travel to Ewood Park to face Blackburn in the Carling Cup quarterfinals.

The team is likely to be hugely different from the near-full-strength squad that beat the blues to keep Arsenal on top of the Premier League, as Arsene Wenger always tries to field his kids during cup ties.

Robin van Persie is the only player who featured on Sunday that I see as likely to play on Tuesday, and the striker is only likely to play at Ewood because he is struggling to recover match fitness after a long spell on the sidelines due to injury.

Lukasz Fabianksi will probably start in goal, behind a young defense of Justin Hoyte, Philippe Senderos, Alex Song, and Armand Traore.

In midfield, Neves Denilson, Abou Diaby, Lassana Diarra, and Theo Walcott are the most obvious choices, although after Diarra's declaration that he will leave the club I'm not sure if I'd put him in, even for a Carling Cup game.

Up front I would like to see Robin van Persie partnering the impressive Nicklas Bendtner, although Eduardo could play instead of either of the two.

Van Persie needs to reach match fitness soon, and I believe that Bendtner has more of a future at Arsenal than Eduardo, so I hope to see him rather than the Croat.

Although Blackburn are a very good side, our youngsters have proven again and again that they can play with the best, so I expect a tough 2-1 win to propel the Gunners into the semifinals.