Pre-Match Report

Reserves: Arsenal v Blackburn - Preview

By Joe Brewin

Arsenal Reserves will aim to continue their unbeaten start to the season when Blackburn Rovers visit Underhill on Monday night.

Neil Banfield’s side head into the clash with two wins and a draw from their opening three Reserve League South fixtures and currently sit top of the pile ahead of Chelsea.

The young Gunners showed their resilience to come from behind against a strong and established Bolton Wanderers side two weeks ago, a result Banfield was naturally pleased with.

“I think it showed the good spirit we have got, and the work ethic,” he told “I also think we played some really good football.

“I've watched the DVD again and gone through a few things with the lads. There were one or two errors defensively which were individual mistakes that we will try to put right but overall I was pleased with the performance to be honest.”

Banfield was concerned by some of his side’s defending against Bolton but he did not dwell on the negatives.

“We have our way of working where we don't get side-tracked by player performances,” he said. “Obviously when there are individual errors we do try and work on that with the individual as well and go through it with them.

“It doesn't become a major problem, we just say 'you might have done better here'. We have worked with one or two defenders, they will grasp it and won't make the same mistakes again.”

Last season’s corresponding fixture with Blackburn produced a seven-goal thriller at Underhill, with both teams boasting strong line-ups.

Ultimately a Benik Afobe brace paved the way for an Arsenal victory with Chuks Aneke and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas notching either side in reply to David Dunn’s double. Former Portsmouth man Benjani hit the opener for the visitors.

“Blackburn have maybe had a change in their style of play with Steve Kean coming in,” Banfield said. “It will be a tough game. They usually bring some senior players down and last year we really had a go.

“We are looking forward to a good, competitive game.”

The Reserves boss looked on as two of his regulars - Aneke and Oguzhan Ozyakup - made their Carling Cup debuts for the first team on Tuesday.

The likes of Damian Martinez, Nico Yennaris, Daniel Boateng and Sanchez Watt were among the substitutes and the second-string presence in the first-team squad made Banfield proud.

“It's great to see them play. There was a few sitting on the bench and one or two got their chance so overall I was delighted for the lads,” he said.

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