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Premier League

  • February 4, 2012
  • • 13:00
  • • Emirates Stadium, London
  • Referee: A. Marriner
  • • Attendance: 59643
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Premier League Preview: Arsenal - Blackburn

Steve Kean's relegation-threatened side travel to the Emirates looking to replicate their 4-3 success against the Gunners earlier in the season at Ewood Park


PROBABLE LINEUPS

ARSENAL

S
zczesny
Sagna, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Koscielny
Ramsey, Song, Arteta
Walcott, Van Persie, Oxlade-Chamberlain
BLACBURN ROVERS

Robinson
Lowe, Dann, Givet, Olsson
Dunn, Petrovic, N'Zonzi, Pederson
Modeste, Hoilett
Arsenal have been rocked by the news that Jack Wilshere may not feature at all this season, having previously been expected to return last month. However, the home side will have been boosted by the return of Bacary Sagna to the starting XI against Bolton with a clean sheet.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain looks set to keep his place in the starting line-up as he continues to impress since being handed his first Premier League start against Manchester United just two weeks ago.

Blackburn were buoyed by a relatively quiet January transfer window where they managed to keep hold of their star players, although they will be without Chris Samba, who despite being fit, is not available for selection as he feels he can no longer give the club 100 per cent after he saw potential moves away blocked against his wishes. Otherwise, Blackburn are at near full strength with only Michel Salgado currently sidelined with a rib injury.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • Arsenal have only won one once in their last six Premier League fixtures.
  • In the last meeting between the two sides at the Emirates they played out a 0-0 draw
  • Blackburn's dramatic 4-3 win at Ewood Park against Arsenal in September was their first win this season in the Premier League.
  • In league history between the two teams, Arsenal have won 51 times to Blackburn's 26, while 30 have ended in a draw.
  • In previous meetings this fixture has averaged a total of 2.85 goals per game.
  • Robin van Persie has scored more than any other in the history of meetings between the sides with 8, while David Dunn tops the list for Blackburn with 5.
  • Blackburn have conceded on average in the Premier League this season 2.04 goals per game with only Wigan conceding more.
  • Theo Walcott has scored 5 goals in the Premier League this season from 64 shots, meaning each goal has come after every 12.8 attempts.
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Wojciech SzczesnyGoalkeeper
4Per MertesackerDefender
5Thomas VermaelenDefender
6Laurent KoscielnyDefender
7Tomas RosickyMidfielder
8Mikel ArtetaMidfielder
17Alex SongMidfielder
22Francis CoquelinMidfielder
20Robin van PersieStriker
14Theo WalcottStriker
15Alex Oxlade-ChamberlainStriker
21Lukasz FabianskiGoalkeeper
3Bacary SagnaDefender
16Aaron RamseyMidfielder
10Andrey ArshavinMidfielder
30Yossi BenayounMidfielder
10Chu-Young ParkStriker
14Thierry HenryStriker
1Paul RobinsonGoalkeeper
23Martin OlssonDefender
5Gaël GivetDefender
6Scott DannDefender
8David DunnMidfielder
12Morten-Gamst PedersenMidfielder
-Radosav PetrovićMidfielder
15Steven N'ZonziMidfielder
35Jason LoweDefender
27Anthony ModesteStriker
23Junior HoilettStriker
13Mark BunnGoalkeeper
31Grant HanleyDefender
16Bradley OrrDefender
10Mauro FormicaMidfielder
77Simon VukcevicMidfielder
-Rubén RochinaStriker
25David GoodwillieStriker
Players to Watch
Theo Walcott
Theo Walcott
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 14
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0

The England winger has come in for some criticism of late as he struggles to replicate his early season form and with so much pressure on Robin Van Persie to score the goals, Walcott must take some of the burden off his team-mate. Walcott has devastating pace though continues to frustrate with his end product, and although his ability is not in question he must start to become more efficient when in goalscoring positions. Up against one of the Premier League's worst defences in Blackburn this weekend, Wenger will be hoping the 23-year-old makes a sharp return to form.

Radosav Petrović
Radosav Petrović
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 0
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0

The gangly Serb initially struggled to make an impact following his summer move from Partizan Belgrade but has been a real shining light for Steve Kean in recent weeks with some classy displays in the Blackburn midfield. A trip to the Emirates will be tough and a lot will be expected of Petrovic to protect his defence from the waves of attacks from Arsenal as they look to cause another upset against one of the Premier League's big clubs.

Prediction
Arsenal have been in poor form of late while Blackburn have been showing real signs of improvements though the one thing the two sides do have in common is that they only have one style of play. Blackburn will not go to the Emirates to defend for a draw and Arsenal's fluid passing style will never be compromised so expect a game wide open and full of chances. Arsenal are strong at home and I can't see the leaky Blackburn defence being able to hold out for too long - this should be comfortable for Arsene Wenger's men.
Editor's Prediction

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