Dan Bird: Blackpool vs Arsenal Match Preview

Arsenal face Blackpool on Sunday in a very important game for both sides.

This is a must win game for the Arsenal, and against an attacking Blackpool side we should be able to win comfortably like we did at the Emirates back in August. We scored 6 against Blackpool at the Emirates but I’m not expecting such a comprehensive result this time. It will be a tough game but we have to win to keep alive our slim chance in the title race. After all we are seven points behind but if we win our game in hand and beat United the gap will be reduced to just a single point.

As is typical for the Arsenal we have three new injury problems with Bacary Sagna, Alex Song and Theo Walcott all major doubtsfor Sunday’s match. In other injury news Denilson and Ramsey are very likely to miss out as well as our other long term absentees including Szczesny and Djourou.

Last weekend against Blackburn the team never got out offirst gear and we failed to defeat a Blackburn side we are very capable of beating. It is bound to have had a negative effect on the side but the players need to bounce back and if they play close to their best we will beat Blackpool on Sunday. There were some promising signs last weekend with Andrey Arshavin especially appearing to be returning to the form we all know he is capable of. He shouldn’t have been substituted as he was one of our best players against Blackburn.

Wenger has confirmed in his press conference today that he will stick with Manuel Almunia in goal. This is a brave decision by Arsene and one that could very easily backfire. The Spaniard clearly has no confidence and against an attacking Blackpool side he could be found out once again. It is clear he has the talent to be a top class goalkeeper but as an Arsenal fan every time the ball gets near him you fear the worst. Hopefully Manuel can perform to his best ability at the weekend.

Bacary Sagna has today been confirmed as doubtful for the match, but Koscielny, Squillaci and Clichy will make up the rest of the back four. Arsenal’s forgotten defender Emmanuel Eboue will start at right back if Sagna doesn’t pass his late fitness test. Cesc Fabregas has been confirmed as fit to start the game and will hopefully be joined by Alex Song and Jack Wilshere. Song however has a knee problem and is facing a late fitness test. If he isn’t fit Abou Diaby will be his likely replacement alongside Wilshere in the heart of the Arsenal midfield.

Theo Walcott is a doubt for the game and Andrey Arshavin is likely to start on the right hand side in his absence. Robin Van Persie will start through the middle and Samir Nasri will start on the left of Arsenal’s forward trio. Bendtner and Chamakh will both feel hard done by as they’ve hardly got a game recently but Van Persie is in red hot form and is the key to us challenging for the title.

Sunday’s game is by no means going to be a walkover but the Arsenal faithful should be confident of victory. Blackpool have been struggling recently and are well and truly in a relegation battle. They won’t be expecting to win on Sunday but due to their attacking philosophy they will still attack and this could play into Arsenal’s hands. They will leave plenty of space in the midfield for the likes of Fabregas to exploit. I’m predicting a 3-1 victory for the Arsenal that would keep us in with a chance of winning the title.

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