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April 2, 2011 5:30 PM BST
Emirates Stadium — London
Referee:‬ P. Dowd‎
Attendance:‬ 60087‎
 

Arsenal - Blackburn Preview: Gunners looking to extend nine-game unbeaten home run over Steve Kean's side

Arsene Wenger's side face the pressure of playing after all their title rivals but a strong record against Rovers, who have not won in seven games, should give them confidence

By Oliver Yew

Jens Lehmann returns to Arsenal as a substitute against West Brom (Getty Images)
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PROBABLE LINE-UPS
Arsenal: Almunia; Sagna, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy; Song, Wilshere, Fabregas; Arshavin, Van Persie, Nasri.

Blackburn: Robinson; Salgado, Samba, Nelsen, Olsson; Emerton, Nzonzi, J Jones, Pedersen, Hoilett; Santa Cruz.
DID YOU KNOW?

  • In 105 league matches between the two sides Arsenal have won 51 times. Blackburn have been victorious on 29 occasions, while the teams have finished level 21 times.
  • The Gunners are unbeaten in their last nine home matches against Rovers.
  • Since the start of the Premier League in 1992/93 Arsenal and Blackburn have met 19 times in north London. The Gunners have won 11 matches and Rovers have come out on top three times. Five matches have ended in a draw.
  • Arsenal have only won one of their last six matches in all competitions. In that time they have gone out of the League Cup, the FA Cup and the Champions League.
  • Jens Lehmann appeared for the Arsenal reserves in their 2-1 defeat to Wigan in midweek. It was his first appearance in a Gunners jersey since rejoining the club on an emergency deal and he had some shaky moments during the match.
  • Arsene Wenger's side have conceded 52 per cent of their goals from set-pieces, the highest percentage of any team in the Premier League according to Opta stats.
  • Arsenal will be hoping Robin van Persie is fit to start as the Dutch striker enjoys playing against Rovers. He has notched 10 goals in 10 starts against the side from Ewood Park.
  • Blackburn have not kept an away clean sheet this season and have conceded 38 goals on the road.
  • Rovers have not won in their last seven matches. They have lost an FA Cup tie and four league matches. In that period they have picked up two draws against Newcastle and Blackpool.
  • Blackburn midfielder David Dunn has scored five goals in seven Premier League games for the club against the north London side.
LAST MEETING



August 28, 2010: Blackburn 1-2 Arsenal


Theo Walcott gave the Gunners the lead but Blackburn hit back with an equaliser from Mame Biram Diouf. Arsene Wenger’s side showed resilience though and got the winner thanks to Andrey Arshavin’s second-half strike, and held on for all three points.


Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
FA Cup ‎(FA)‎ 16 Feb 2013 Arsenal FC 0 - Blackburn Rovers 1
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Premier League ‎(EPL)‎ 4 Feb 2012 Arsenal FC 7 - Blackburn Rovers 1
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Premier League ‎(EPL)‎ 17 Sep 2011 Blackburn Rovers 4 - Arsenal FC 3
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Premier League ‎(EPL)‎ 2 Apr 2011 Arsenal FC 0 - Blackburn Rovers 0
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Premier League ‎(EPL)‎ 28 Aug 2010 Blackburn Rovers 1 - Arsenal FC 2
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Manuel AlmuniaGoalkeeper
3Bacary SagnaDefender
18Sébastien SquillaciDefender
6Laurent KoscielnyDefender
22Gael ClichyDefender
17Alex SongMidfielder
10Jack WilshereMidfielder
8Samir NasriMidfielder
10Andrey ArshavinMidfielder
14Theo WalcottStriker
20Robin van PersieStriker
1Jens LehmannGoalkeeper
27Emmanuel EboueDefender
24A. DiabyMidfielder
4Cesc FàbregasMidfielder
7Tomas RosickyMidfielder
29Marouane ChamakhStriker
23Nicklas BendtnerStriker
1Paul RobinsonGoalkeeper
27Michel SalgadoDefender
22Christopher SambaDefender
23Martin OlssonDefender
-Ryan NelsenManager/Coach
4Phil JonesDefender
7Brett EmertonMidfielder
13Jermaine JonesMidfielder
15Steven N'ZonziMidfielder
23Junior HoilettStriker
9Roque Santa CruzStriker
13Mark BunnGoalkeeper
31Grant HanleyDefender
8David DunnMidfielder
-Rubén RochinaStriker
25BenjaniStriker
30Jason RobertsStriker
39Mame Biram DioufStriker
Players to Watch
Jack Wilshere
Jack Wilshere
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
23 3 6 0
The England international has been an important figure for Arsenal in recent weeks with Cesc Fabregas on the sidelines. Without their inspirational skipper, who could be fit for the weekend, the Gunners have lacked creativity in midfield and a cutting-edge going forward. If the Spaniard fails to make Arsene Wenger’s team huge pressure will fall on the 19-year-old's shoulders to make Arsenal tick and keep the side in the title race.
Roque Santa Cruz
Roque Santa Cruz
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
In recent seasons Arsenal have struggled against a proper target man and the Paraguayan could heap more misery on them this weekend. While he has not made the impact he would have liked since joining on loan from Manchester City, his ability and power in the air will give the Gunners cause for concern.
Prediction
This will be a nervy encounter for the Gunners as they look to get back to winning ways. It is a must-win game and playing after all their main title rivals will add even more pressure. But Arsene Wenger should be able to welcome back some key first-team players to his squad and this should give Arsenal a boost.

Blackburn have had their own troubles away from home and have not kept a clean sheet on the road all season. Arsenal will fancy their chances of keeping that record going but with their confidence in tatters it will not be easy.

The home side should just edge this one but don't be surprised if Blackburn take the lead and the Gunners have to come back and get a win the hard way.
Editor's Prediction
Results
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Luis Suárez Luis Suárez
Striker
Liverpool
30 0
Daniel Sturridge Daniel Sturridge
Striker
Liverpool
20 0
Yaya Touré Yaya Touré
Midfielder
Manchester City
18 6
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Striker
Manchester City
16 0
Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney
Striker
Manchester United
15 2