off to the caves of Blackburn! the Goonerdamus pre-report

Also posted on Arsenal America (8/27/10):

For Goonerdamus, last week can only be described as awkward. It’s fairly obvious that Arsene Wenger controls both time and fate. How else to explain the starting lineup? It’s pretty clear that Wenger’s powers extend beyond the average manager -he’s made some sort of deal the devil or is a demi-god. Either that, or perhaps Goonerdamus shouldn’t be so optimistic when looking into the future. But a new day awaits and an old evil is back: Big Sam and the people that live in caves up in Blackburn.

That’s Blackburn my friends, not to be confused with Blackpool. Blackpool are a bunch of guys that play Dungeons and Dragons with dice and threw a couple of lucky eights to sneak their way into the EPL only to run into Theo! Theo! Theo!

Blackburn is a whole different story. These cave dwellers actually have a history in the EPL: they won the Premier League back in the early days. And under Big Sam they took a bit of the piss out of us last game. They proved that doing one thing and doing it well, attacking us on corners and crosses, is actually a slight weakness because apparently our goalkeeping situation is a bit unsettled. Shock!

But it’s a new year and a new squad. More importantly, this game is a chance for Arsenal to send a message to the rest of the league. We’re bigger, stronger and this year the league is ours.

Unlike the nerds of Blackpool, the thugs of Blackburn require more “physicality” as the English like to say. Luckily, we have a pretty healthy squad right now, Kos is back and we even have The Squirrel! to give us depth in rotation after this game. So lets get to it:


Almunia will return to the posts absent some extreme science by Le Professor that results in a time warp to give us another month before the match to (1) sign, (2) medical, (3) train with and (4) announce a new goal keeper. Arsene’s scary powerful, but that ain’t happening. So welcome back Senor Almunia.

As for the defense, Arsene finally confirmed the signing of The Squirrel (the most rabid and dangerous!) after the longest medical on record. Howver, Arsene also pointed out that The Squirrel will not be involved in the game this Saturday.

So the defense will be the same as the first game: Clichy, Vermaelen, Kos, Sagna.


The midfield should see some changes. With Kos’s return, Song can move back to his DM role, putting Diaby back in his CM position. That’s good, gives the team power to match Blackburn’s  “physiciality.” Wilshere should be back on the bench, but might make a cameo. The real question is whether Fab or Rosicky will start. Since Arsene said that Fab and RVP will need 3-4 weeks to catch up, Goonerdamus foresees another Rosicky start in the midfield. Why worry about having Blackburn and their notorious assault and battery tactics, when Fab can be brought on later? But it’s very possible that Fab might start. Although Arsene has a great opportunity to save Fab for the season and keep him fresh. So far, the teams doesn’t seem to miss him as much as we did last year.

Will Denilson make an appearance? A late substitution would be good to start getting him his game legs back. Plus he’s used to games like this. If he does return, put it down to strength in depth.


This is the game for the forwards to begin the internal competition for starting spots.

I expect the front three should be the same as last game: Arshavin, Chamakh and Theo.

RVP and Vela should be subbed in later, at least RVP. This is good since Blackburn will test Theo all day -pushing shoving, clawing, hair pulling. He’ll be lucky if Blackburn don’t make him wrestle in jello. Funny people those Blackburn types, very touchy feely for the English.

If Theo can pull through this game, just by causing havok, it might be the beginning of something special. RVP isn’t likely to start yet.

As for Chamakh, this is the type of game we have him for. More physical than people realize, he’ll make mark this game. Even if he doesn’t score, just throwing a few elbows will do the team a world of good and give him an identity in the squad. Truth is, Goonerdamus really would prefer if RVP didn’t start this game.

Finally, Arshavin’s been quiet, a little too quiet. He must have read last week’s post since wants to be remembered as a magician. But with all the attention on Theo and Chamakh, Goonerdamus calls Arshavin to score first this game and the Shhhhhhh! to return in grand style.

So there you have it. That’s the line up and Goonerdamus is sticking to it. Unless of course Arsene decides to change the course of history again.

2-0 to the Arsenal


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