The last time we saw this Blackburn outfit grace the hallowed Emirates’ turf, we won 7-1. Take away our un-reliant Robin from the mix and that’s still a 4-1 victory in my books. Of course, being a cup competition this time, far more is at stake; our only true shot at silverware to be precise! However, a good chance to see some players who haven’t had many minutes on the pitch – although is there ever a good enough reason to see Gervinho? – combined with the possibility of boosting confidence levels before Tuesday’s kick about with the Germans, all make this game a mouth-watering prospect. So to wet the appetite even further we have a full panel of four for today’s preview. Enjoy Gooners!
Tom S 16.22
Valentine’s day is a day to cherish those dearest to you, to give them that little extra attention and let them know that no matter what happens you won’t leave them for your younger hotter secretary. For gooners up and down the country this may well equate to a little extra love for Arsene and the Arsenal with a promise that even a 5th place finish wouldn’t tempt them to let their hearts flutter up the M6 to Manchester (red or blue!) This promise may be pledged with a little more sincerity following Saturdays hard-fought victory over Sunderland.
The first half saw some beautiful creative play, with precise passing across the park simply outclassing a decent Sunderland outfit. The build up play leading to Santi’s goal was one of many silky sequences that lit up the Stadium of Light, capped by an exquisite finish from the Spaniard who finally learnt to keep the ball low! Wilshere dominated every aspect of the game, rolling through heavy challenges with the ball never leaving his foot! Jenkinson’s red did turn the game as expected, but if anything the resilience Arsenal showed in defending the lead was almost more pleasing than the first half schooling! The resurgence of Sagna was particularly encouraging with Bayern looming.
The FA cup is likely to be Arsenal’s best chance of silverware this season and Blackburn at home should be more formality than frightening in my humble opinion. The Cup has a history of surprise results but if Arsenal show the same focus as they did on Saturday it should be another step closer to Wembley after the 90 minutes. The starting line up should reflect the importance of the competition as well as being wary of the congested fixture list over the next couple of weeks. Nick I will leave you to delve into formations. In an ideal world a strong team will do the business early on against Rovers though, allowing Arsene to use his subs long before the hour mark.
Wel gang, it’s the return of the cup and the return of Blackburn Rovers to the Emirates stadium. I’m expecting us to thump them once again (thanks for the 7-1 reminder Tom) with Wenger shuffling his pack before the big one on Tuesday against Bayern. As for Blackburn they’ve been chopping and changing managers this season more times than Chelsea, so they will no doubt be looking for a big result! Let’s hope Wenger does take the opposition seriously and play a good selection of first team players. In his press conferences he seems to be saying the right things so let’s hope the fringe players who are given an opportunity really try to impress.
The likes of Coquelin, the Ox and Miquel will hopefully get their chance to shine. We should certainly rest Wilshere for Tuesday night as he will be key. There is no point risking him against Blackburn this weekend even if he is itching to play. I expect goals and plenty of them flying in for Arsenal! My prediction for the game is 5-1 Arsenal! After all, we are missing RVP who bagged three last time. A nice warm up for Bayern on Tuesday hopefully. COYG!! Over to you Maxi to give us the low down on tomorrow’s opposition.
Taxi for Maxi 17.18
Good afternoon once again Nick, Tom and the BackPageBanter rabble and long may your FA Cup dream continue. Not for the fact you may actually finally win a trophy but just because your glorious readers may yet get another fix of my online genius! Anyway onto the football and this week Blackburn Rovers stand in the way of Arsenal and further cup progress. On paper, it seems a comfortable one especially given the fact the Gunners are at home, but let me just warn you of the possible pitfalls that lie in wait!
I always say it but the FA Cup can bring about the craziest results and a lot here relies on Wenger’s team selection for me. Yes, Bayern Munich lie in wait but this should be taken very seriously in my view. Blackburn, despite their bad run will no doubt fancy this if they can keep the shop shut for the first half hour or so. We all know that the atmosphere at the Emirates can sometimes turn nasty and a booming Grant Hanley header inside the first ten minutes is all it takes for the fans to feel aggrieved. The FA Cup is the ideal distraction for any side in a bad run in the league so don’t let their form deceive you.
Beware the predatory DJ Campbell, a much better fox in the box than Franny Jeffers ever was! Danny Murphy needs no introduction and give him a sniff from a set piece or a penalty and he could find the back of the net. Joshua King is a young, raw talent who will be out to prove himself having been released from Fergie’s army at Old Trafford and remember Nuno Gomes? The man who used to prolifically hit the net for Portugal? He may not be quite the player he was then but class is permanent isn’t it?!
Although I’m not expecting the fireworks that were witnessed at the Amex, this is one you lot should win at a canter, but I feel you’ll make things a bit more awkward, labouring to a 2-0 win! Enjoy and make sure you qualify, I want to come back for more! Up the Gunners!
As you say Maxi, the time to talk Bayern is later (despite the fact they have an extra day’s rest but that’s all I’m saying on the matter!). Arsenal simply have to get a good result tomorrow. No more replays, sending off’s or Santos will do just fine for me. If Diaby can start to show some of his form from the start of the season, it may even make my weekend. So we shall see you Gooners on the other side, when another Cup takes centre stage. For now, it’s up the Arse!
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