Arsenal v Blackburn: Match preview
Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers: Match preview
Arsenal v Blackburn
Barclays Premier League,
Saturday, February 4 2012. Kick-off: 1300
Arsenal could be without winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has been struggling this week with a knee injury.
Kieran Gibbs has been training again for the Gunners, but may not be ready for selection on Saturday.
Carl Jenkinson, Andre Santos, Abou Diaby and Jack Wilshere are still absentees.
Blackburn striker David Goodwillie is expected to recover from illness, while Yakubu serve the final match of his three game suspension.
Christopher Samba is not in the matchday squad after being transfer-listed, but Bradley Orr could make his debut after signing from Queens Park Rangers on deadline day.
Wenger offers Kean support
Arsene Wenger has been impressed by the way Steve Kean has conducted himself during a consistent torrent of abuse from Blackburn supporters.
Rovers have won only four games this season, and find themselves in the relegation zone as they prepare to travel to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Plenty of the criticism levelled at Kean, though, has been unjust, and Wenger is the latest of several managers to speak out in support of the Scot.
And Wenger feels his Ewood Park counterpart has been doing an admirable job with Rovers, given the circumstances.
“It's difficult and I feel he has handled himself very well,” Wenger told Arsenal.com.
“That's a credit to him. I feel you always want to focus on what is important and that is the quality of the game and the environment, you have to deal with that.
“It's not easy, nowhere is easy nowadays, but with the media and the opinions of everybody we live in a constant drama. But it's not like that, you know?
“Football is a happy moment where people come together to watch the team they love. We have to stop to make a drama of everything but there are much more dreadful things in life than that.
“We have to keep focused on the fact that we have a fantastic opportunity to play football and we want to focus on that with happy minds, not always to be in a drama.”
Blackburn triumphed 4-3 the last time the sides met, and a triumph in north London could be enough to lift them out of the bottom three.
Arsenal, meanwhile, have the opportunity to shorten the gap between themselves and the sides in the Champions League places.