Premier League: Arsenal vs. Blackburn Rovers
The Blackburn Rovers are safe from relegation, while the Gunners, though out of contention for the Premier League title, have secured a Champions League spot, so a lot of you would think that there is nothing to play for in this game.
Defeats by Tottenham Hotspur and Wigan Athletic, followed by a goalless draw to Manchester City finally ended Arsenal‘s hopes of getting a silverware. However, Arsene Wenger has called on his team to finish the season in style and secure the third-place finish.
“We maintained our consistent position in the top three and I believe nobody expected that from us at the start of the season, so we have done certainly beyond expectation,” the Gunners boss said. “But still for us it is not good enough because we want to win the championship.”
The Frenchman saw his team start the season in a displeasing manner but they improved as the games went on.
Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce also deserves praise for the job done after inheriting a relegation-threatened club from Paul Ince in 2008. The Mighty Blue & Whites are currently at No. 13, eight points above Bolton Wanderers.
The Gunners still have some concerns in defense, with William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen both unavailable through injury. Manuel Almunia is also struggling with a wrist problem, while Denilson will miss the final two games of the season with a groin strain.
Meanwhile, Blackburn’s Chris Samba, Brett Emerton, El Hadji Diouf and Vince Grella should be fit to face the North Londoners this afternoon.
The match kicks-off at 17:00 GMT (12:00 p.m. ET).
UPDATE: The Gunners failed to seal third place in the EPL after losing 2-1 to Blackburn at Ewood Park.
[Image via Flickr]