Arsenal Vs Blackburn Rovers
Feb 16, 2013 at 3pm (UK )
With the champions league clash against Bundesliga giants on the horizon, Arsenal host Blackburn Rovers in another important FA Cup 5th round match later today as the Gunners are still in the hunt for a silverware this season. Although Arsenal are favourites to win the tie, FA cup matches are highly unpredictable and on their day any team can beat anyone. Arsenal manager, who is already having horrible time with the number of injured players will be hoping to get through the game with minimal damage.
Meanwhile Blackburn Rovers who sit at the 8th place in the Championship table are on a mini impressive run of form. They are unbeaten in the last 5 matches and will arrive at the Emirates knowing that they have nothing to lose. With almost all of their player having premier league experience and with an in-form striker Jordan Rhodes (21 goals this season) at their disposal, Blackburn could pull out an upset.
Team news and Injury updates:
Arsene Wenger taking to the press yesterday, revealed the latest on his injuried players
“Wilshere and Koscielny have a test this [Friday] morning and Thomas Vermaelen should be back. He has a definite test today,” said Wenger.
“We have plenty of people in training today who have a test and we’ll see how well they come out of it. I am confident 50:50 with Wilshere and Koscielny, and Vermaelen 90:10.”
So it looks like the Gunners have a positive news from the treatment tables and if all goes well the injured trio of Vermaelen, Wilshere and Koscielny will be on time to face Bayern. However, for today’s game it is expected that Wenger will rest them even if they pass the test.
As far as the rest of the team is concerned, Gervinho who was impressive in the AFCON is back and is available for selection. Along with Gervinho the likes of Rosicky, Diaby, Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain, Ramsey are expected to get a nod from the manager. The back-line, despite with all the injuries looks decent to face a Championship side.
New signing Nacho Moreal, Mertesacker and Sagna are expected to start and the remaining one slot is purely up-to Wenger and Bould to decide. They have a choice between Ignasi Miquel, Hector Bellerin and even Vermaelen could be selected if he is fit enough.
Rovers manager Michael Appleton will be forced to rest DJ Campbell (on loan from QPR) who is cup tied and Morten Gamst Pedersen could be his replacement. Colin Kazim-Richards and free scoring striker Jordan Rhodes could team up-front to threaten the Gunners resolve.
Possible starting lineups
Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Monreal, Miquel; Arteta, Diaby, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Rosicky; Podolski
Blackburn Rovers: Kean; Orr, Mn.Olsson, Dann, G.Hanley; Lowe, Murphy, Ms.Olsson; Pedersen, Rhodes, Kazim-Richards
Blackburn Rovers: D/L/D/W/W/D
- This is the seventh time that Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers have been drawn together in the FA Cup. Arsenal have progressed on four occasions; although Blackburn were victorious in their last meeting (2007 Fifth Round) winning the replay 1-0 (after the initial match ended 0-0).
- Arsenal are unbeaten in 34 games against lower ranked sides in the FA Cup (W27 D7).
- The Gunners are also unbeaten in 34 FA Cup ties at home (W25 D9).
- This will be Arsenal’s sixth appearance in the fifth round since winning the trophy in 2005. They have failed to progress on three of the previous five occasions.
- Olivier Giroud bagged a brace in the Fourth Round for Arsenal and has scored five in his last five appearances for the London club.
- Jordan Rhodes has bagged nine goals in his last 10 appearances for Blackburn in all competitions.
- Rovers have won six and lost just one of their last 10 in all competitions.
Prediction: 3-1 win for Arsenal.