Date: 13th March 2009 at 12:44pm
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Its Friday morning before a trip to the Emirates to play Arsenal so what better way to prepare than speak to Conor Dardis at the always excellent Arsenal Insider.

So, looking back over the course of the season – has it panned out how you would of hoped?

Hope and realism are two very different things! Realistically many Gooners knew the squad wasn’t as strong as it was last season. Flamini’s departure the biggest blow of all. He had formed a great partnership with Cesc that could have gone on for the next 6 or 7 seasons. That said we all hoped someone within the ranks would step up and bridge the gap and we did start the season well but injuries have hit hard and we’ve not played to our potential. So the hope was we’d be in contention for the title the reality is we are where many thought we would be.

Which player has been the success story of the season?

Firstly William Gallas. He took so much stick from so many fans, me included, I honesty thought we’d seen the last of him in an Arsenal shirt but he has been outstanding in the second half of he season. I think the burden of being captain didn’t really fit with his personality and I’m not sure all those in the squad were behind him, Toure in particular, but as i said since then he has be awesome and Wednesday nights slip up aside, he has been awesome.

What are your impressions of Rovers as a club?

I was at Ewood earlier in the season and I must admit I was shocked at how quiet the place was compared to other visits I’ve made. Our fans are famously quiet ‘The Highbury Library’ etc and i know maybe your side didn’t give you much to cheer about on the day but the place felt dead. I hope you can put a run of results together and stay up. Looking at your squad compared to others you’ve got more quality and should beat the drop.

Anyone from Rovers that you fear will cause you damage at the weekend?

You’ve got quiet a bit of talent up front but Diouf always plays well against us. For Bolton, he always caused us problems. He’s a real pantomime player, if he’s yours you love him, if not you hate him… And I hate him so he’ll probably score!

Arsenal fans have been criticised this season for booing their own players – do you feel this is deserved or not?

The Emirates has been a bit strange this season. A mixture of expectation, disappointment and frustration. The Eboue incident was odd. Panic had set in on the pitch and in the stands and the reaction was more like ironic cheers and relief than boos, understandable maybe, but, for me, its an act of treason having a go at your own. Its ok to have a pop at a player when your playing bar stool manager back in your local but not when your 1-0 up in the dying seconds of game.

Do you still expect the Gunners to qualify the Champions League this season?

Yes, by a whisker. Hopefully our returning players will give us a big boost for the final 10 games.

Can I grab a predicition from you?

I stopped doing them cause I’m never right, but, if you pushed me I’d go 2-1 to the Arsenal!

Let me be the first to say good luck to Conor and Arsenal tomorrow (obviously not enough luck to win of course!).

Thank you Conor.

 

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