Friday 16 September 2011

Rovers preview

It was interesting to see the media's contrasting reactions to our excellent point away to the German champions to Manu's draw against a Benfica. There is no doubt that Dortmund are a considerably stronger side than Benfica, but the media did not paint things like this, same old I say.

The most encouraging thing was the way in which we defended well as a unit even when he came under a lot of pressure in both the first and second halves. It was heartening to see the fight and commitment displayed. Fans can always forgive a lack of quality, but a lack of determination and commitment is never acceptable.

Certainly it will not be a dramatically different side that faces Blackburn on Saturday. Our 4-3-3 system will be retained and it certainly delivered away from home last season, not in our home fixtures though. The 4-3-3 is a very fluid system and it is of critical importance that the wide forwards track back in order to provide defensive support to the full backs, who can sometimes be left outnumbered in this formation.

Defensively I suspect the back five will be the same five that faced Dortmund, Mertsacker's aerial power will be useful and it is vital that we continue communicating as we have been of late. Hopefully our new zonal marking system will keep out Blackburn's set pieces.

Personally I would stick a robust midfield three into the mix, Song-Frimpong-Arteta would do nicely. This would give us a robust platform from which to defend and play on the counter. A front three of Theo-RVP-Gervinho would scare Blackburn with their pace. Diaby may well return to the squad, I suspect Ramsey will not be risked after his recent injury.

Junior Hoilett is expected to return following concussion and he is a danger man for them, pacey and skillful with a decent shot. The detestable Pedersen will no doubt be doing his normal diving routine, the pork pie prone Dunn will also be keen to go to ground in his typical truffle hunting manner.

Overall though I think we should have a great chance of picking up three points tomorrow. It will be vital that we defend solidly and don't allow Blackburn to build their confidence up by scoring first, we need to get the first goal and then kill the game on the counter attack, something that all the great Arsenal sides of Arsene's reign used to do at Ewood Park and something that we must learn to do again if we are to be successful again. Come on you Gunners!

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