These are comments made by Arsene Wenger on the eve of today’s clash with Blackburn at Ewood Park:
“For us it will be important that we are strong in the air because they favour that style. They have Paul Robinson who kicks the ball very long and they have long throws too. It’s important in England if you want to win the title that you deal with all this.”
Blackburn away is a fixture that more likely sits on the difficult end of the nuts and bolts of the English Premier League, so a win today could be viewed as both necessary to our title challenge and a particularly good result.
For the first time in a long time the injury and team news going into this game is positive: Laurent Koscielny is back from suspension, Denilson is fit enough to start and there are no new injuries to worry about.
The return of Koscielny should see a little reshuffle in the team: the Frenchman will slip in alongside Thomas Vermaelen at the back, pushing Alex Song into the defensive midfield position.
As a result, one of Abou Diaby, Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky will make way, while Cesc Fabregas should continue his gradual integration to the season on the bench.
Further forward the options are excellent: Theo Walcott should be rewarded for his blistering performance against Blackpool with another start while Marouane Chamakh and Andrey Arshavin are likely to complete the front three.
For me the key to this game will be our boys ability to absorb the physical battle and create the space for the creative players to pierce Blackburn’s defence.
It has been quite some time since we’ve been able to play a spine as physically-imposing as Almunia, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Song, Diaby and Chamakh and I believe they will stand up well to the task at hand.
I’m really looking forward to this game. It will be a good test for this team and a good indication of where they are at this stage of the season.
As such, three points would be a great result.
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