Pedersen: Gunners still up there
Rovers travel to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday to take on an Arsenal side that have gone five years without any silverware. Their last league title came in 2004 and with the emergence of Manchester City and rejuvenation of Tottenham this season, many have suggested the Gunners might struggle to make their traditional Champions League slot within the top four. City's 4-2 win over Arsenal at Eastlands last month added fuel to that debate but, as far as Pedersen is concerned, Arsene Wenger's team are in no danger of being usurped at the Premier League's top table. "There is always the big four of Arsenal, Man United, Chelsea and Liverpool," Pedersen said. "You see Man City now pushing on, Tottenham had a decent start, but I think Arsenal will always be a part of the top four clubs. "You never know in football - with City doing well maybe it is going to be a big five, but Arsenal will definitely be up there." Wenger celebrated a record 13 years in charge of the north London club this week and Pedersen was keen to praise the Frenchman's achievements since his arrival in England in 1996. "Wenger has been here for a long time now and has done really well," Pedersen said. "He has had loads of good players and lots of young players that he has given the chance to, and they have done well. "You have to show respect for what he has done with Arsenal. They won the league, they have done well in the Champions League, so of course, he is one of the top managers." Blackburn were on the receiving end of two 4-0 hammerings against the Gunners last season but Pedersen is confident that, if the team approach the match in the right frame of mind, they have an opportunity to make amends. "We know we didn't perform as well as we wanted last season against Arsenal and we want to go down there and show that we are a better side than we showed last year," Pedersen said. "In football anything can happen and if we have a good day and play to our best, we can cope with the best teams in the league - hopefully it will be like that on Sunday. "It is important to prepare ourselves well for the game - they keep the ball well and pass it around, but we can defend well and we must not concede. "It is important what we do when we get the ball as well - we don't want to give it away straight away, because as long as we have the ball, they can't score. "It will be a tough game, we have to be well prepared and we have to be up for it, but hopefully we can do well." Sam Allardyce has defensive concerns ahead of the trip to the Emirates Stadium after centre-back pairing Ryan Nelsen and Chris Samba both suffered injuries in last weekend's 2-1 victory over Aston Villa. Club captain Nelsen sustained a back problem after falling heavily and Samba had to come off due to injury. Both face a late fitness test to see if they will be fit to play. Vince Grella is suspended after being sent off in the same match, but there is more positive news about Gael Givet, who returned to training in the week following his knee injury.
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