Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.

Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson will give his pre-match view and you can get his post-match verdict in our Talking Tactics feature on Arsenal Player.

Arsène Wenger and his side face Blackburn Rovers at the Emirates on Saturday so, to find out more, we also asked local journalist Andy Cryer for his thoughts and analysis.

Stewart Robson

"Blackburn base their gameplan around a well-organised and disciplined defensive strategy. When Christopher Samba and Scott Dann are at the heart of the defence they can afford to defend deeply because both are excellent headers of the ball. Yet when they have been missing, the likes of Gael Givet and Grant Hanley have also shown a desire to defend with skill and tenacity. This defensive structure means that they rely heavily on counter-attacking football and set plays to score goals.

"As Arsenal will should be aware, both these aspects of their play caused Arsène Wenger`s men problems at Ewood Park. Junior Hoillett is key to their counter-attacks because he is a brilliant runner with the ball and will makes runs behind teams who play too high and too square."

Scouting Report - Tactics

"They normally play a 4-2-3-1 with one up front, two sitting midfielders and then three men looking to push forward with the striker.

"Yakubu has been the key man for them this season in that lone striker role but, of course, he will be serving the last of a three-match suspension. In this game, Anthony Modeste, who signed on loan from Bordeaux in the January window, will probably play in that position again. He made his full debut last night against Newcastle.

"Then you have Steven N'Zonzi in the holding role alongside Radosav Petrovic, they are the most likely pairing in the middle. Those two allow Junior Hoilett and David Dunn the opportunity to get forward and create.

"I think they will approach this game quite defensively. It tends to be the case for away matches now where they try and soak up pressure and hit teams on the break. They aren't too bad on the counter either because Hoilett, Dunn and Martin Olsson are all decent attacking threats.

"There have been games where they have played quite well - they are probably better away from home than they are at Ewood Park to be honest. At home they have had some shocking results and some shocking performances. Away they tend to be better because they don't have to take the initiative when teams come at them and so they just look to hit the opposition on the break.

"They have been playing a little bit better than the results have suggested but they haven't got too much of a killer touch and probably deserve to be where they are.

"Arsenal probably play straight into their hands. I expect them to have all of the ball, all of the pressure and Rovers will just defend, defend and then defend some more until they can catch them out on the counter.

"Players like Hoilett will be a threat for Arsenal. Unless they score early, Arsenal will just keep piling forward and it could work favourably for Blackburn. It could be just like what happened at Old Trafford and Anfield.

"I have to be a little bit hopeful from Rovers' point of view. If Arsenal get one early then it's game over for me but if Blackburn can keep them out in those early stages they could get a 1-1 draw or even sneak a win. That is me being very optimistic though."

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    3 Feb 2012