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February 16, 2013
• Emirates Stadium, London
Referee: M. Dean
• Attendance: 60070
C. Kazim-Richards 72'
Anyway, that's all from me, Sam Wells, at the end of a tumultuous day at the Emirates Stadium. I hope you enjoyed the game and thanks for tuning in, be sure to follow all the post-match coverage on Goal.com. Until next time, farewell.
Meanwhile, Blackburn, naturally, will be delighted with their part in today's game. They've progressed despite the game being controlled by the opposition and must be lauded for their defensive performance. Kazim-Richard's lively performance was rewarded with a goal but their defence must take the plaudits after, in spite of some incessant late pressure, they managed to earn a clean-sheet. A proud day for Blackburn.
A shock result has put paid to The Gunners' hopes of domestic silverware, heaping further pressure on Arsenal's tie with Bayern Munich on Tuesday. Wenger will no doubt be frustrated with the fringe players he put faith in; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky and Gervinho, in particular, disappointed as they were unable to break down a resolute Rovers defence. They looked more dangerous when they introduced the three substitutes but were unable to capitalise on their late pressure, with Giroud and Arteta going close. The restlessness of the home support was palpable in the latter stages and that bad feeling in the Arsenal support is likely to continue for some time to come.
90' + 4'
And that's that! The referee blows for full-time, prompting a chorus of boo's from an indignant home support. Arsenal are out of the FA Cup!
90' + 3'
Arsenal come so close with one minute remaining! Wilshere once again causes problems down the left as he cuts the ball back for Giroud. The Frenchman's shot is blocked, practically on the line. The rebound falls to Arteta but the Spaniard fires it into the side-netting.
90' + 2'
A hopeful Wilshere cross is cleared by Blackburn, but falls only as far as Coquelin. The Frenchman's shot is blocked though as Arsenal continue to push.
Arteta puts a simple ball to Monreal behind him and out for a throw-in, a pass greeted by boos from the home support.
Yellow CardDavid Goodwillie
Monreal, overlapping Wilshere, is given the ball but he puts the cross behind. The crowd are getting more and more frustrated as the fourth official signals four minutes added time.
Wilshere, once again the bright spark in the late stages here, bursts down the left and clips a ball into the area. Walcott heads goalwards but straight into Kean's arms! He probably should have done better with that.
Arsenal's pressure is relentless but they're struggling to work shooting chances here. Cazorla twists and turns in an attempt to work an opening but his eventual shot is blocked and cleared by a resolute Blackburn defence.
Koscielny, bursting forward as the centre-back tries to instigate something offensively, puts in a decent cross. Giroud heads goalwards but the effort is tame and Kean claims with ease.
Monreal has a crack at goal from distance after the ball falls nicely for him from a Walcott delivery. The shot isn't the best though as it sails wide of the far post.
Walcott puts in a dangerous ball after a good run down the right-wing, but Hanley clears for a throw-in.
Blackburn have everyone bar Rhodes in their third of the pitch here, they're setting the stall out here and doing so very well. However, the home side are bound to have a couple of chances before the game is through.
The referee invokes the ire of the home support as he gives a foul against Coquelin after a fairly zesty challenge on Pedersen. Time is running out on the Gunners here.
Yellow CardFrancis Coquelin
Wilshere puts a typically classy ball through to Monreal down the left flank, but the left-back can't quite control of the ball and it's behind for a goal-kick.
Arsenal's pressure is relentless but they haven't had a chance since Blackburn went ahead. They continue to push though as we approach the final ten minutes.
The free kick comes to nothing as Giroud handballs the Wilshere delivery. Arsenal remain on the attack though, it'll be interesting to see whether the hitherto impressive Rovers defence can hold on here.
Arsenal are beginning to respond now as they have a free kick in an extremely dangerous area, after Pedersen cynically bodychecks substitute Walcott.
GOAL! Blackburn open proceedings here! A Martin Olsson shot, after the left-back surges down the left, is parried out by Szczesny, but the ball falls to Kazim-Richards. The striker scuffs his effort, hitting into the ground, but the ball somehow finds its way in, bouncing over a desperate Vermaelen and into the goal. Game on!
Walcott, Wilshere and Cazorla come on for Gervinho, Rosicky and Oxlade-Chamberlain; a real statement of intent from Wenger there.
From the ensuing corner, Diaby drives an effort goalwards and, after initially spilling the ball, Kean dives on the ball gratefully. The substitutes are still waiting to come on.
Arsenal are looking more potent minute-by-minute here as Gervinho is denied a chance by an excellent last-ditch challenge by Hanley. Arsenal have another corner.
Rosicky goes close! The midfielder picks up the ball in between the lines and tries his hand at another long-range effort. An excellent strike rattles the crossbar as Arsenal continue to knock on the door.
After Arsenal work a crossing opportunity down the left, Rosicky tries a cross with the outside of his right foot but it's too deep and Olsson clears. A fairly dismal cross there and, as if in response, Wenger prepares substitutes Walcott and Cazorla.
Rosicky, in an effort akin to Diaby's about ten minutes prior, shoots wide from long-range. A poor effort but at least there are signs of intent.
As Rosicky misplaces another pass, aimed at Monreal, David Bentley comes on, to a predictable chorus of 'boos' from the home support.
Oxlade-Chamberlain attempts an extravagant overhead kick after a Giroud knock-down. He gets his angles wrong though and it flies well over the bar. A valiant effort nonetheless.
Arsenal have yet another wasted corner to their name, as Diaby heads the set-piece well over the bar. A tame effort, symptomatic of the Gunners' set pieces today.
Rosicky misplaces a pass, an error that elicits groans from the increasingly restless home support. How long before the likes of Walcott and Wilshere are introduced?
Diaby, apparently bored of the incessant build-up play from Arsenal, decides to take a pop at goal from 30 yards out. He strikes it cleanly but it flies well wide of goal.
The story of the first half appears to be repeating itself here, with Arsenal camped just outside the opposition's area but unable to break down a resolute Rovers defence.
Arsenal are extremely close to working an opening but Oxlade-Chamberlain, after receiving a nice ball from Rosicky, is crowded out, as his eventual shot is blocked by Dann.
Oxlade-Chamberlain beats Olsson again down the right-wing, but his delivery is, as has been the case all game, disappointing as he puts the ball behind for a goal-kick.
Olsson beats Coquelin down the left and forces another Rovers corner, but the ensuing delivery is cleared by Vermaelen.
This is, thankfully, shaping up to be a more entertaining half than the first period. Giroud heads a Rosicky corner goalwards and Gervinho almost manages to get a flick-on, only for the ball to elude him and, once again, find the arms of Kean.
Blackburn go down the other end and, for the first time in the game, cause the home side some problems. After Vermaelen diverts a delivery behind for a corner, the corner prompts something approaching a goalmouth scramble. The ball is eventually cleared and Arsenal are back on the attack.
We're back underway here as the Gunners kick off the second half. They're instantly on the attack as Oxlade-Chamberlain beats Marcus Olsson before putting in a disappointing delivery, straight into Kean's grateful arms.
Both teams are ready and, hopefully, raring to go as we gear up for the second period at Emirates Stadium.
Blackburn, meanwhile, have clearly set out to deny the Gunners any space and, in that aspect, they've succeeded. However, that's practically the only manner in which they have succeeded as they have looked fairly abject going forward, with the prolific Rhodes barely featuring. Nevertheless, they look fairly comfortable defensively, with Gervinho's torrid miss the only real black mark in the first forty-five minutes. They'll be hopeful they can build on a solid defensive showing in the first half and maybe even offer up an attacking threat in the latter period.
Both sides have to be disappointed with that half, though the away side will be pleased with the score. The Gunners, in spite of all their possession (and corners), have looked devoid of any penetration. Gervinho, who some tipped to continue his good form from the Africa Cup of Nations, has looked his old self, spurning the home side's only real chance of the half. Wenger might find himself turning to his star-studded bench sooner rather than later if his side don't create more chances in the early stages of the second half.
45' + 1'
As one minute injury time is called, Arteta strikes goalwards. It's straight at Kean though, who gathers fairly easily. As he clears the ball, the referee calls an end to what was, in all honesty, a fairly turgid first half.
Giroud, in an action-packed couple of minutes for the Frenchman, is brought down around 30 yards from goal by Lowe. Arteta looks like he's shaping up for this one.
Giroud, completely anonymous in this first half, drives a cross into the six-yard area from the left wing but Kean claims with ease.
The first clear-cut chance of the game and it falls to Gervinho! Rosicky slides a lovely ball through to the winger but he spurns the chance, skewing the ball wide of the far post. A really poor finish there.
Coquelin bursts into the area and, with a smart turn, goes down after a challenge from Olsson though, claiming a penalty. A hopeful, going-on desperate, shout there and nothing is given.
Blackburn give away the ball once again as Kazim-Richards plays it straight out for a throw. A microcosm of Blackburn's performance, if you like. They've looked devoid of ideas going forward and have been wasteful in possession, though they'll be happy with the scoreline.
Monreal, clearly frustrated at his side's inability to create anything, shoots at goal from about 35 yards out. The ball is deflected behind for a corner.
A disappointing Coquelin delivery is cleared by Orr and Kazim-Richards has a rare run at the Arsenal defence. Nothing comes of it though as Monreal dispossesses the Blackburn man.
Arsenal continue their struggle to break down Blackburn's two banks of four as Gervinho claims a free kick on the edge of the area. No doing though and Blackburn have the ball.
Oxlade-Chamberlain runs at the away side's defence, looking dangerous but he can't thread a ball through and it's out for a Rovers goal-kick.
The ensuing corner is, strangely, headed back to Rosicky, who duly puts in another delivery. It's a decent ball in but Vermaelen gets a piece of Orr and a free kick is given.
After a Gervinho cross is put behind for a corner, Vermaelen manages to get his head on the delivery, looping the ball goalwards. Kean gets a hand on the ball though and it's behind for another corner.
A Rovers free kick in a central area is chipped in by Pedersen, Dann manages to get his head to it but can't get it over and it's behind for a Gunners goal-kick.
A lovely move from the Gunners ends in incongruous fashion as Oxlade-Chamberlain essentially toe punts the ball well wide of the goal.
The Gunners are really dominating now; it's difficult to envisage the home side not opening the scoring before the half-time interval.
The first proper chance of the game! Diaby heads at goal from a Rosicky corner, Kean tips over for another corner. A good save there.
The corner poses more of a problem than usual for Rovers; Kean punched clear, only for the ball to fall to Arteta, who dinks it backpost to no-one, Orr clears behind for a corner.
Arsenal continue to threaten without, somehow, really threatening. Gervinho surges into the Blackburn area but his delivery is predictably disappointing as Dann clears easily.
Rosicky and Diaby link up with some nice interplay as the former drives into the Blackburn area, forcing another corner, which Kean claims with ease.
Blackburn are struggling to get going here as, in a rare foray into the Gunners half, the Olsson twins give away possession wastefully, gifting Arsenal the ball again.
The corner is, once again, cleared with consummate ease. Arsenal are dominating here but, for all their possession (and corners), aren't penetrating the Rovers backline with any real danger.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, after another disappointing corner delivery, makes up for it thirty seconds later with an extremely dangerous whipped ball in. Orr puts it behind for another corner.
Arsenal's pressure is building here as Monreal, overlapping Gervinho, puts in a cross that is put behind for yet another Gunners corner.
A couple of corners in quick succession come to nothing as the Gunners remain in control here. Though they have still yet to test Kean in the Blackburn goal.
The ball falls nicely to Gervinho about forty yards from the Blackburn goal. He drives towards goal and lays it left to the overlapping Rosicky. Rosicky puts in a cross but it's blocked by Dann and behind for a corner.
Yellow CardBradley Orr
Orr, who handballed just minutes earlier, flies into a challenge with Gervinho, without getting anything of the ball. He duly earns the first booking of the game.
The free kick is whipped in by Arteta and Diaby gets his head on it, but can only nod the ball well over the bar.
It's Arsenal's turn to have a free kick in a dangerous position now, as Orr handballs just outside the area.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is troubling Blackburn's backline in the early stages here, he just managed to weave his way through a couple of challenges in the penalty area but his eventual cross was cleared fairly easily.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is almost threaded through for Arsenal but Kean comes out and gathers adeptly, nullifying any danger. A lively opening here.
Coquelin, deputising at right-back today, gives away an early free kick in a dangerous position. Pedersen whips in a dangerous ball and it finds its way to Olsson at the back-post, who volleys wide. A decent early chance for Blackburn there.
And we're underway, with Blackburn kicking off proceedings here.
The teams are coming out onto the pitch now as we are just minutes away from kick-off here at the Emirates Stadium.
The away side, meanwhile, also make a couple of changes from the side that earned a 1-1 draw against Brighton last Saturday, as Morten Gamst Pedersen and Lee Williamson come in to replace DJ Campbell and Danny Murphy. David Bentley could also make his first appearance in a Blackburn shirt in five years as he features on the bench here, having just returned to his old club on loan from Tottenham Hotspur.
Arsenal, as expected, rotate their side ahead of their Champions League game next week as Theo Walcott, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Lukas Podolski all feature on a star-studded bench. It's still a strong line-up though as Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny return from injury to resume their partnership at the heart of the defence, while Gervinho makes his first appearance in over a month off the back of an impressive African Cup of Nations.
Blackburn: Kean; Orr, Dann, Hanley, Martin Olsson; Pedersen, Williamson, Lowe, Markus Olsson; Kazim-Richards, Rhodes. Subs: Usai, Givet, Fabio Nunes, Rekik, Nuno Gomes, Goodwillie, Bentley.
Arsenal: Szczesny; Coquelin, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Monreal; Diaby, Arteta; Gervinho, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Giroud Subs: Mannone, Sagna, Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla, Walcott, Podolski
And here come the team line-ups...
This could be an interesting game as Arsenal, though naturally keen to win any silverware they can get their hands on, look set to give their fringe players a chance to shine ahead of their Champions League clash against Bayern Munich on Tuesday. Blackburn, meanwhile, will be eager to cause an upset as they endure another tumultuous season – Michael Appleton is their third manager of the campaign. It's also worth noting that this game has tended to be full of goals in the past; there were fifteen goals in their two Premier League encounters last season. Here's hoping for more of the same today!
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com's live coverage of today's FA Cup clash between Arsenal and Blackburn Rovers, I'm Sam Wells and I'll be guiding you through today's proceedings.
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