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Rupert Wyman 2nd May 2010 - 17:57

A tough trip up north for Arsenal

Arsenal (21/20) will be looking for a win in another 'nearly' season as they head up north on a trip to Blackburn (5/2). A season that at one stage promised so much is going to end trophy-less, with the Arsenal fans again pondering what the future holds.

It was only a few months ago that their Premier League form improved and they started to look like realistic contenders for the Champions League trophy. However, their flaws have been brutally exposed of late and their loyal fans' dreams of Fabregas lifting the trophy at Ewood Park is now just a fantasy.

Arsenal are destined for third place and they can look on at the likely prospect of their West London neighbours Chelsea parading the Premier League trophy and the FA Cup through the streets of SW6.

Arsenal were strangely off-colour against Manchester City last weekend and they will need to be on-form against Sam Allardyce's well drilled Blackburn Rovers side.

It could be a tough day out for the North London side, Blackburn took points off both Chelsea and Manchester United at home and rely heavily on their home form.

It has been five long seasons since Arsenal have won a piece of silverware and there is talk of wholesale changes in the summer.

Arsenal have been linked with the likes of Bolton's Gary Cahill, West Ham's Scott Parker and Fulham's Brede Hangeland. These are the signings that Wenger should have considered last summer, they need an enforcer in the Vieira mould and a few tough central defenders.

They were terrorised by Chelsea and Manchester United at the Emirates and for all their pretty football at times there is little substance to their play and no protection at the back.

With Walcott, Fabregas and Van Persie they have some world class players, it is just time Wenger built a squad around them.

Arsenal's recent form and troubles can be pinpointed at a growing injury list.  Vermaelen, Gallas and Fabregas will not feature this term and Aaron Ramsey will not play again until late next season.

El-Hadji Diouf and Vince Grella should play a part for Blackburn after missing last weekend's draw at Wolves due to illness.

I would back the draw at 12/5, both sets of players will either be looking towards the beach or World Cup football. Those featuring in the World Cup will not be going in hard on 50/50 challenges and neither team would be too disappointed with the draw.

If I was to look at a goalscorer bet, the 15/2 for Walcott to be the first/last scorer looks tempting. He will still be focused on scoring and playing his best under the watchful eye of Capello, he needs to cement his place in England's World Cup squad, especially now Lennon is fit and vying for a place.

At Arsenal, Wenger is no longer the manager 'who only knows about the Japanese league', he will always be lauded as one of the greats.

The Arsenal fans regularly hold banners stating 'In Wenger We Trust', but there may be a time soon when even the most patient and respectful fans believe change to be a necessity.



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