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Blackpool vs. Arsenal: match preview

Half of Arsène's face.
Half of Arsène's face.

Kickoff: 8:30 AM EDT, Bloomfield Road, Blackpool
TV Coverage: Fox Soccer Channel

Ian Holloway's Blackpool welcome Arsenal to Bloomfield Road for a Premier League clash tomorrow with the Gunners sitting ten points behind Manchester United with two games in hand and the Tangerines one point free of the relegation zone in 17th place.  The match is the reverse fixture of the 6-0 hiding that Arsenal brought upon Blackpool back in August, after the latter had a man sent off early in the proceedings.  Both teams come into tomorrow's match in somewhat below average form, however; the Gunners haven't won a match in five tries, and Blackpool have lost 10 of their matches since the start of the new year.

It is apparent to everyone that every match is a must-win for Arsenal these days.  If ever there was a team and place to get back on track, this is it.  Blackpool have been an enterprising side this season, and most would prefer to see them stay up and continue with their brand of attacking play, but the objective tomorrow overrides any sentiment anyone may have.  They may play against type and sit and defend against Arsenal, in which case the match could become much like Arsenal's recent efforts against West Bromwich Albion and Blackburn Rovers.  If Blackpool elects to play with the throttle open, though, everyone could be in for a pretty entertaining time.

Blackpool have no major injuries to contend with; Matty Gilks is a doubt with a knee, but their core XI is otherwise healthy.  Arsenal, on the other hand, are a little dinged up.  Alex Song, most notably, is struggling with his knee again, and Bacary Sagna has a knee issue as well.  Theo Walcott has an ankle complaint.  Those three may not be able to play.  Cesc Fabregas is healthy again, and Aaron Ramsey should be back from his groin injury.  Denilson has a toe injury and may not be available.  Long-termers Thomas Vermaelen and Johan Djourou are unavailable.

Arsenal: (4-2-3-1): Almunia; Eboué, Squillaci, Koscielny, Clichy; Diaby, Wilshere, Fabregas; Arshavin, van Perise, Nasri.