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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Blackburn Rovers vs. Arsenal

Ewood Park

Tuesday 18th December 2007

20:00

On Sky

Blackburn Rovers v Arsenal

This is a HUGE week for Rovers, Arsenal tonight and victory would take us into the Semi Finals of the Carling Cup and bring some real Christmas cheer to Ewood Park, and then Chelsea on Saturday, not quite make or break but a crucial week in our season!!!

Vital Quotes:

Mark Hughes on who he will select:
"We are looking to win the game, it is really important. Unfortunately, at the weekend we were down to 10 men for a large period of the game so that will have taken its toll on us and we have to be mindful of that.

"But, as ever, I am looking to play the team that I feel will win the game.
."

Arsene Wenger on the Carling Cup and his selection policy:
"The Carling Cup is more of a squad game, because we decided as a squad to go for every single trophy.

"Many players that didn't play against Chelsea will play at Blackburn on Tuesday night.
."

Roque Santa Cruz on the importance of the match:
"It is a huge game for everyone because we want to have the chance to win a cup, so the Carling Cup and the FA Cup are tournaments where we want to do our best.

"We must do anything we can to get to the final
."

Blackburn Rovers Team News:

Brett Emerton starts his suspension after his sending off against Wigan Athletic on Saturday, and Andre Ooijer's injury keeps him out (and will do for several weeks) but Sparky is likely to name a VERY strong side. Keith Tracey also misses out through suspension, having been sent off in a recent reserve match.

With Emerton and Ooijer out Rovers could hand a debut to Northern Irish youngster Tony Kane.

Blackburn (from): Friedel, Nelsen, Samba, Warnock, Tugay, Mokoena, Reid, Bentley, Dunn, Pedersen, Santa Cruz, McCarthy, Roberts, Brown, Savage, Berner, Derbyshire, Khizanishvili, Kane.

Player to watch: David Bentley

Bentley's stock is rising all the time, so against his old side it has to be Bents doesn't it.

Arsenal know what he can do, but he would love to do this again this evening to help us into the Semi Final at the expense of his old club.

Arsenal Team News:

Emanuel Eboue suffered a knee ligament injury against Chelsea on Sunday so he will be out for some time, Lassana Diarra has asked to leave Arsenal (already) so he might not feature.

Theo Walcott, Abou Diaby, Denilson, Armand Traore and Lukasz Fabianski will all come in as will several other top quality Arsenal youngsters as Arsene Wenger will be sticking to his current selection policy.

Player to watch: Take your pick!

Arsenal have soooo many superb footballers don't they, be it the young gunners or the more experienced players that could also play a part. So who do you single out?!?!

Match Facts & Stats

Both clubs entered the Carling Cup in the Third Round due to European commitments, Rovers saw off Birmingham City 3-0 at Ewood Park, Arsenal beat Newcastle United 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

The Fourth Round saw Rovers beat Portsmouth 2-1 at Fratton Park and Arsenal beat Sheffield United 3-0 at Bramall Lane, this sets us up for this Quarter Final tie.

Ref Watch:

Mr Mike Riley.

Match Prediction:

Rovers are on a poor run of form, the early season fluency that we were seeing has deserted us in recent weeks and the defence that has been so well organised has crumbled and succumbed to terrible individual and collective errors recently. If we give Arsenal this kind of opportunity they will rip us apart quite literally.

This is such a tough match to call, the quality that Arsenal have is unbelievable and so many of their "kids" would get into most other sides, the vast majority do play a part in the senior squad anyway but Rovers have the experience, but this might count for nothing. Tiredness could play a part, and Arsenal will be fresher than us.

If ANYONE thinks that either side will walk this then they would be wrong wouldn't they?!?! I think it could be a long night, but we are in for a superb match that Rovers will just edge as the hunger for success in this competition (and a place in Europe next season) will see us through.

Next Fixtures:

Just the small matter of Chelsea coming to Ewood Park on Saturday.




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The Journalist

Writer: Walker Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday December 18 2007

Time: 11:15AM

Your Comments

This could be a REAL Christmas cracker dudes, I hope that the real Rovers turn up tonight!!!
Hughes Da Man
How is Emerton suspended? I thought it normally takes time to come through.
hatespur
I don't know dude but if the Official website if telling you that is the case then you beleive it don't you?
His suspension could give Tony Kane a chance, so I'm hoping he gets it and puts in a performance that could see him given an extended run at right-back.
Hughes Da Man
Not sure about Mike Riley tho - hate that guy!
FreidelNo.1
They will HDM - Emerton will be a loss for us
FreidelNo.1
come on blackburn knowck the scum out of the cup .. i think yah can do it jus get stuk in and make sure santa does the buisness!
Jakk-United-2007
I'm predicting an interesting game and hope Rovers can win to kick-start the season. The omens are good. Last time we played Arsenal at this stage in a comp was last season's FA Cup and the time before was in this competition when we won 4-0 with a goal from a certain Mark Hughes.
roversman
roversman ur not suggestin that with the poor peformances latley that sparky himself will play and show the lads how its done?!?! not lookin forward to this its nt gonna be pretty-but we have to bounce back (i *****in hate this sayin)! anyway c'mon rovers give me sime hope im turnin into decimus poole here (no offence mate)
durks de rover
our squad average age for tonight is 19.5 years old....
ArsenalRob
Well if Hughes plays our average squad age will be a bit higher than Arsenals... especially if he's in the middle with Tugay...
FreidelNo.1
good luck lads from all at Vital Chelsea - do them!
merlin
This is nothing short of embarrasing! Fair play to arsenal but we are bad! The defence have lost it.
roversman
absolutely devestated, to lose the game like that in extra time, what on earth is happening in defence
sasman
Defence ONCE again cost us this match, WHAT was Samba thinking for the second goals?!?! Superb match though and we did ourselves proud in the second half (but that is still little consolation though it is!!!)
I thought Alex Song was outstanding in this match, you can tell that he is a midfielder by trade but he can't half defend as well overall Man of the Match in my opinion.
Hughes Da Man
Is a shame to lose a match like that.. one more man on the field for 30 minutes and no result. Too bad didn't score that volley with his left foot when the 90's minutes were finishing! Samba played a great match..played bravely, but he gave away Arsenal's 2nd goal!
diegoveron
Unlucky guys.. it was truly a heart-stopping game, and an advert for Cup competitions. Good luck with the dirty scum on Saturday but don't be rough on them - they can squeal a fair bit.
Andy-bayor
Great game. Bad luck, I hate Robbie Savage, Tugay and Dunn but whoever is in either team when we play the midfield just seems to go to war. That lends itself much better to cup football and made for a good spectacle. Denilsons tackle was a little dangerous.
Ozi Gooner
Great game - poor ref - should hve sent off the arsenal player at the end who clattered Warnock, again quick to give us yellows, and them talkings to. Still I thought it was excellent entertainment value, shame we didn't finish them off with a win
FreidelNo.1
I'm glad my 5-0 prediction was wrong. It was poor defending in the first half that let us down. In reality it was a game of 4 halves. Arsenal had the first half. We had the second half. Arsenal had the first half of extra time. We had the second. If Samba's header had gone in, if Rocky could have connected with his left foot swing. If Pederson hadn't nearly took that defenders head off with his rasping drive. If...
Decimus Poole
If the 1st Santa goal was actually given offside, like it should have ;). Excellent game, and really pleased with the Arsenal performance. A good 2nd half from Blackburn, but the kids fought and defended well. Tremendous fight to go down to 10 men, yet score a goal in extra time.
prits
That was a great game, but I'm gutted we couldn't find another goal. Definitely our best performance for ages in the 2nd half, everyone was giving it everything. You might hate Savage Ozi Gooner, but I thought he had an absolutely stunning game (well certainly from the end of the 1st half onwards).
Bents4eng
Similar to the Chelsea FA semi last season.
FreidelNo.1
It certainly was, poor first half a bollocking from Sparky in at half time and a SUPERB second half. Disappointing to lose but it was a great game and as mentioned a great advert for the Carling Cup.
Hopefully we can take something from this and build on it, good luck to Arsenal though, I hope they go onto win it now.
Hughes Da Man
Rovers were shocking start of the game, maybe they underestimated the challenge? There was a lot of optimism early on and I think several of your players have hit a bad patch of form at the same time. Good to see Santa settled in so you're not missing Benni much. Denilson's challenge was reckless and it's good that none of the other players got involved and the match didn't end with both teams wanting blood next time they meet. Good luck for the rest of the season (until we meet at in the League for which loads and loads of bad luck!) Merry Xmas.
saisho
 

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