Arsenal - Blackburn Preview: Defensive injuries hamper Gunners ahead of Rovers clash
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
By Sam Wells
Sagna, Mertesacker, Miquel, Monreal
Gervinho, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain
Orr, Dann, Hanley, Olsson
Pedersen, Murphy, Lowe, Olsson
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.
- Blackburn remain unbeaten on their travels in 2013. Rovers are 10/1 to draw 1-1 with bet365.
- 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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Top 3 Predictions
Arsenal FC 3-0 Blackburn Rovers
- 19.56 %
Arsenal FC 2-0 Blackburn Rovers
- 15.23 %
Arsenal FC 3-1 Blackburn Rovers
- 12.97 %
|England - FA Cup (FA)||Feb 16, 2013||Arsenal FC 0 - Blackburn Rovers 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Feb 4, 2012||Arsenal FC 7 - Blackburn Rovers 1|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Sep 17, 2011||Blackburn Rovers 4 - Arsenal FC 3|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Apr 3, 2011||Arsenal FC 0 - Blackburn Rovers 0|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Aug 28, 2010||Blackburn Rovers 1 - Arsenal FC 2|
|Apr 16, 2014||Arsenal FC 3 - West Ham United 1||EPL|
|Apr 13, 2014||Wigan Athletic 1 - Arsenal FC 1||FA|
|Apr 6, 2014||Everton 3 - Arsenal FC 0||EPL|
|Mar 30, 2014||Arsenal FC 1 - Manchester City 1||EPL|
|Mar 26, 2014||Arsenal FC 2 - Swansea City 2||EPL|
Times In MYT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed