The games keep coming for Arsenal as the new look squad attempts to find it's feet. After what will hopefully turn out to be an important Champions League point away to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday night, it's back to Premier League action against Blackburn Rovers. At the moment Arsenal are twelfth in the league with four points from four games, but this is a real opportunity for them to improve on that.
At the moment their opponents are propping up all other 19 Premier League clubs at the bottom of the table with only one point from their four games. They got that point away to Fulham last Sunday after defeats in their first three games, and that was a welcome boost for them. It hasn't decreased the pressure on manager Steve Kean though, as some of their fans plan a protest against him before the game.
Blackburn have had a good home record in recent seasons, but they have lost both of their home games this season, and that's worrying for a team that depends on their home form to avoid relegation. They will be looking to remedy that problem against Arsenal and they will take some confidence from Arsenal's poor start to the season. The deadline day signing of Scott Dann from Birmingham City could prove to be vital for them if he can form an effective central defensive partnership with Christopher Samba.
Both players were reported to have been targets for Arsenal during the transfer window, but they eventually signed German centre back Per Mertesacker instead. He's still finding his feet in the Arsenal team, but Laurent Koscielny is performing admirably alongside him. Koscielny's distribution has been suspect at times so far this season, but he has defended well when called upon and he was excellent against Dortmund on Tuesday night.
I think Arsene Wenger might keep the same starting lineup that played against Dortmund, and it's a fairly strong looking Arsenal team. The only possible exceptions might be the inclusion of Andre Santos, Andrey Arshavin, Aaron Ramsey or Tomas Rosicky, but I doubt if any of them will start.
Santos should get his full debut against Shrewsbury Town in the Carling Cup next Tuesday night, and he should get plenty of first team chances after that game. I think Gervinho will keep his place in the team which should see Arshavin on the bench again, unless Theo Walcott drops out. Both Ramsey and Rosicky have knocks and I doubt if either of them will be risked even if they are fit to play.
It means that both Mikael Arteta and Yossi Benayoun should play in front of Alex Song again, and they have both been very promising since their deadline day signings. Arteta showed what he is capable of against Swansea last weekend, and Benayoun had a very good game against Dortmund on Tuesday night. Arsenal need to start creating more chances, and both of them are more than capable of fulfilling those duties at this level.
I have been critical of Theo Walcott this season and in the past too like so many other Arsenal fans. He continues to frustrate me when I watch him play, but his goals have been very important so far this season. He has three goals in seven games from a wide role, and his assist for Robin Van Persie was crucial on Tuesday night.
I think Walcott would prefer to be deployed in a central role, but it doesn't look likely to happen in the near future. Until then he is most likely to score when he is played in behind the opposing defence, and the fans will have to live with his apparent lack of success at taking opponents on. It looks like he has earned himself a regular starting role for this season, and it's up to him now to ensure he keeps it.
Robin Van Persie hasn't been at his best so far this season, but he is gradually improving with each game, and I hope he can reach the heights he did last season when he wasn't injured. He has the ability to be the top scorer in the Premier League if he can stay fit, and Arsenal's new look team can provide him with the chances to score.
I think Blackburn will attempt to get in Arsenal's faces and put them under pressure, and Arsenal's ability to soak up pressure will be crucial. They will also have to take their chances to break quickly and punish any Blackburn mistake, which are bound to happen at some stage. As nervous as Arsenal may appear at times, I think Blackburn will be even more nervous.
As long as Arsenal put in the required effort and are brave enough to keep playing football no matter what happens they are good enough to get another three points. With some of the title contenders playing each other on Sunday there's a good chance for Arsenal to make up some ground, but nothing other than a win will do in this game. I'm predicting a 2-1 win for Arsenal with RVP hopefully discovering his goalscoring form away from home of last season.
The latest injury update from the club yesterday was promising, as Arsene Wenger said Thomas Vermaelen should be back from his injury after the next international break. I'll be at the first game after that break when Arsenal take on Sunderland at the Emirates along with quite a few other Irish fans of Arsenal. I haven't been over in a while and I'm really looking forward to meeting some good people and watching Arsenal play live again.
That's it for today.
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Here's a little bit of Theo Walcott at his best including his goal in this fixture last season.
See You Tomorrow.