Arsenal 0-0 Blackburn – Title Hope’s Fading Fast

It’s difficult to know where to start with yesterday’s game. It was arguably our worst performance of the season against a team who hadn’t scored a point away from home in 2011.

Before the game, West Ham played Man Utd in the lunchtime kick-off and lead 2-0 into the break. The second half Man Utd played like a different team and turned the game around thanks to a foul-mouthed Wayne Rooney who went on to score a hat trick.

As for our game, we started lively with Walcott creating a chance that produced a smart save from Paul Robinson. This was highlight of all our efforts. The game passed by with a complete lack of urgency and passion.

Fabregas made his return from injury when he replaced Arshavin with half an hour to go and did little to pick up the pace. Even with a sending off for Blackburn’s N’Zonzi you thought this is it, 15 minutes left, let’s go on and win this game. Unfortunately the players didn’t turn it up a notch and left the fans, myself included, very frustrated.

It wasn’t even like Blackburn parked the bus in front of their goal, there were chances to be had but yet again there was no end product.

It’s the first time I’ve seen so much hostility from the fans, the game ended with a chorus of boo’s and I’ve heard there were fights breaking out in some parts of the stadium. There is certainly a divide forming between fans and a minority wanting Wenger out.

I think change is needed but I don’t think it’s the manager. We’re currently 2nd in the Premier League challenging for the title, it’s not a bad place to be but our challenge is fading fast. We’ve fallen 7 points behind at the top with a game in hand and still the leaders to play. Each game is a must win to have any chance at all of winning the league.

At the moment there isn’t anyone in the squad who can lead from the front and take the team over the finish line. This is where the team needs to change. Wenger has money to spend on transfers and that exactly what he has to do.

Yesterday was one of those days. But they’re far too frequent for this team. If we don’t score early on our players panic, get nervous and don’t produce the goods. Man Utd’s second half performance was one of champions, where as Arsenal, sadly are nowhere near that standard and that’s the difference between the two teams at the moment.

Blackburn Preview – A Must Win Game, No Excuses

It’s Arsenal’s first game in 14 days and after failing in 3 competitions over two weeks, the break was very welcome.

We were very unconvincing against a Sunderland side and nothing seemed to go right at home last time around. Their goalkeeper played very well, was given the Man of the Match award and it was topped off with some very poor decisions from the referee with the most frustrating being Arshavin’s legitimate goal disallowed for being offside.

The International break would have given the players time away from the club to not think about our poor form recently. Although it came with it’s usual injury scares as Bendtner and RvP both picked up knocks and Jack played more minutes than anyone was hoping to see.

Our late kick-off on Saturday afternoon will allow the team time to react to the scores from Man Utd who play at 12:45 away to West Ham and Chelsea who play away to the Stoke at 3pm. Both tricky fixtures!

But I know Wenger tells his payers to ignore the results around them for better or worse. Either way, today’s game is a must win and we need to get maximum points to keep the Premier League chase on track.

We welcome back Cesc, Song, Walcott and Diaby for the game. I think we’ve missed Alex Song more than any player this season when he’s been out, he’s the one midfielder we have that gets back when needed on a regular basis. I’m expecting Theo to start on the bench and come on for the last 25-20 minutes to pick up match fitness again, but he’s another player we’ve missed greatly.

I expect the team line-up for today to be:

Almunia; Sagna, Koscielny, Squillaci, Clichy; Wilshere, Song, Fabregas; Nasri, Arshavin; Van Persie.

We have more than enough quality to win against a hard working Blackburn side that haven’t been good away from home this season. There’s no other option than getting maximum points today, the players know this and I just hope that they perform on the pitch.

Come on you Gunners!