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FA Cup

  • 16 February 2013
  • • 15:00
  • • Emirates Stadium, London
  • Referee: M. Dean
  • • Attendance: 60070
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Arsenal - Blackburn Preview: Defensive injuries hamper Gunners ahead of Rovers clash

Arsenal - Blackburn Preview: Defensive injuries hamper Gunners ahead of Rovers clash

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With Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny ruled out and Wenger rotating ahead of their clash with Bayern Munich, the Championship outfit will hope to cause an FA Cup upset

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

ARSENAL

Szczesny
Sagna, Mertesacker, Miquel, Monreal
Arteta, Diaby
Gervinho, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain
Podolski
BLACKBURN ROVERS

Kean
Orr, Dann, Hanley, Olsson
Pedersen, Murphy, Lowe, Olsson
Kazim-Richards, Rhodes

Arsene Wenger looks set to rotate his squad from the team that overcame Sunderland in a 1-0 win last Saturday, as he appears intent upon resting some of his key players ahead of their Champions League clash with Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

Ignasi Miquel, having come on as a late substitute in the win against the Black Cats, looks set to deputise at centre-back, as Thomas Vermaelen (ankle) and Laurent Koscielny (calf) continue to struggle with injury.

There are further repercussions from their exertions against Sunderland as Jack Wilshere's dead leg in that tie rules him out of this FA Cup clash, while Carl Jenkinson is also ruled out with suspension after his red card in the same game.

Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Oliver Giroud are also likely to be rested from the team that started the Sunderland game, with Abou Diaby, Gervinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Tomas Rosicky and Lukas Podolski coming in, as their manager clearly has one eye on their Champions League game in midweek.

Blackburn, meanwhile, will look to play a full-strength side as manager Michael Appleton appears ready to keep faith in the team that earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Brighton last Saturday.

The one change that is likely to be made, however, comes in the form of the experienced Morten Gamst-Pedersen replacing DJ Campbell, with Colin Kazim-Richards assuming a role alongside the free-scoring Jordan Rhodes upfront.

Jake Kean, meanwhile, looks set to keep his place in goal as former England international Paul Robinson remains out-of-favour with new boss Appleton.


  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Arsenal and Blackburn's recent encounters have been full of goals; their two encounters last season contained 15 goals.
  • The last of those two games, with the Gunners at home, saw Arsenal romp to a 7-1 win, with Robin van Persie bagging a hat-trick.
  • Wenger's side have also been impressive at home of late, having lost only one of the past seven games at the Emirates Stadium.
  • Theo Walcott, though unlikely to start here, has been in blistering form this season and has already equalled his highest amount of assists in a Premier League season - eight (the same as 2011-12).
  • Blackburn's Jordan Rhodes (pictured right) is also in scintillating form, having scored seven goals in his last seven games for  Rovers.
  • They have also been extremely tight at the back of late; having conceded only two goals in their last five games.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Wojciech SzczesnyGoalkeeper
6Laurent KoscielnyDefender
17MonrealDefender
5Thomas VermaelenDefender
24A. DiabyMidfielder
8Mikel ArtetaMidfielder
35Francis CoquelinMidfielder
7Tomas RosickyMidfielder
15Alex Oxlade-ChamberlainStriker
12Olivier GiroudStriker
27GervinhoStriker
25Vito MannoneGoalkeeper
3Bacary SagnaDefender
16Aaron RamseyMidfielder
19Santi CazorlaMidfielder
10Jack WilshereMidfielder
9Lukas PodolskiStriker
14Theo WalcottStriker
34Jake Kean Goalkeeper
16Bradley OrrDefender
31Grant HanleyDefender
23Martin OlssonDefender
6Scott DannDefender
35Jason LoweDefender
14Lee WilliamsonMidfielder
12M. PedersenMidfielder
-Marcus OlssonMidfielder
-Kazım KazımMidfielder
-Jordan RhodesStriker
-Sebastian UsaiGoalkeeper
5Gaël GivetDefender
44Karim RekikDefender
5David BentleyMidfielder
-FabioMidfielder
25David GoodwillieStriker
21Nuno GomesStriker
Players to Watch
Gervinho
Gervinho
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 27
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The divisive figure comes into this game off the back of an impressive Africa Cup of Nations where, in spite of a fairly abject showing from his country, he scored two goals and was generally the bright spark in a poor Ivory Coast side. He must feel as though he has a point to prove, given his generally disappointing performances in the Premier League this season, and this FA Cup tie is the perfect platform on which he can capitalise on his recent international form.
Danny Murphy
Danny Murphy
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 13
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The veteran midfielder surprised many last summer with his unexpected move to the troubled Championship side; he only missed five games in last season's Premier League campaign with Fulham, where he was also captain. As one would expect from a player with such class (and in spite of his age), he has shone in what has been an extremely mixed campaign for the Rovers, and will surely relish a chance to shine against Premier League opposition once more.
Prediction
There is most definitely potential for an FA Cup upset here as, with the Gunners seemingly intent on resting key players, the away side must fancy their chances to prove that they can still compete against the top clubs. However, though improved of late, Blackburn's form has been sketchy this season and Arsenal should have enough quality to ensure that they come out of this clash on top, though it could be a close one.
Editor's Prediction

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