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Match preview: Arsenal vs. Blackpool

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Jamie McDonald /Allsport
Jamie McDonald /Allsport

Arsenal take on newly-promoted Blackpool tomorrow at 10 AM EDT in an "orange opponent" fixture that has caused minor problems in recent years.  That is not to say that Blackpool are one's traditional newly-promoted team, and they are most certainly not the Hull of 2008-09.

Ian Holloway has made it clear in his approach that he intends to attack the bejeezus out of teams, final score be damned.  It's an attitude that he may come to regret, but it worked like a charm in the club's first ever Premier League match against Wigan, a 4-0 victory that stole the headlines and temporarily put the Tangerines at the top of English football.

Charlie Adam, Scotland international, is Blackpool's main attacking threat, and he's a heck of a free kick taker as well.  He will be the main man trying to disturb Thomas Vermaelen and Johan Djourou (who is almost certain to start at center half, having returned to fitness).

Arsenal go into the match without Laurent Koscielny (suspended), Samir Nasri, Denilson (who is injury-free but needs another week of fitness, according to Arsène Wenger in his weekly press conference), Emmanuel Frimpong, Nicklas Bendtner, and Aaron Ramsey.  Johan Djourou is back, as are Alex Song, Cesc Fàbregas and Robin van Persie, although Wenger said that neither of the latter two are fully ready yet even as they are available.

It is hard to imagine that Wenger would not want to start Fàbregas, his captain, for the home opener.  He knows that Blackpool are not to be taken lightly, and one suspects that he might just start Fàbregas and take him off in the second half, particularly given Nasri and Denilson's absences.

Given that, a likely lineup would be:

--------------------------Almunia----------------------------

Sagna----------Djourou------Verm--------------Clichy

----------------------------Song------------------------------

---------------Fàbregas----------Rosicky----------------

Walcott----------------Chamakh--------------Arshavin

With maybe Emmanuel Eboué or Abou Diaby in place of Rosicky, van Persie coming off the bench, and Wilshere, Gibbs, and perhaps Nordtveit and Eastmond also coming off the bench.

Rosicky proved that when healthy, he is still more than capable of direct play into the box and still possesses the quick feet necessary to work around markers.  Either way, Arsenal will probably run the 4-3-3 much as they did last season, given that it is a home match against a (theoretically) weaker opponent.  As much as one may love (full disclosure: I LOVE) Ian Holloway, this is a match in which Arsenal are favored.