Blackburn Rovers return to the Emirates for the first time since relegation in the FA Cup 5th round fixture. Arsenal are fighting on three fronts right now so we can expect to see an unfamiliar line-up. We need silverware though, so there needs to be focus on this game and the BFG has been exercising his vocal prowess informing the world that Arsenal are going to take this fixture very seriously indeed and are not even thinking about Bayern.
Arsene has said in his press conference today that players that have been playing regularly will be rested so I expect to see Cazorla and Giroud benched, with Wilshire left sitting in the stands to continue his rehabilitation from the kick at Sunderland. I also expect Koscielny to be left on the bench to save risking him so I thing the line up might look something like this. A return for African legend Gervinho is on the cards too after a rest following the ACN.
I have put Le Coq in, but there is a chance that his injury is still not healed, he was close before Sunderland and was not risked so I think there is a good chance he will be in. There is enough talent in this side to get a positive result, but caution is the watch word of the day – Blackburn do have good players and they are fighting for every point they can get in the Championship so this is no easy fixture. With Blackburn sitting in 8th position and chasing the play-offs, they won’t want to risk injury to key players but they also know a strong cup run can galvanise the team.
Expect to see Premier League veterans in Morten Gamst Pedersen and Gael Givet along with promising stars such as David Goodwillie and the nomadic Colin Kazim-Richards – a player who has roamed from QPR and Arsenal schoolboy to his first professional contract at Bury to Fenerbahçe, Toulouse, Galatasaray and back to blighty and a season loan at good old Blackburn. He’s only 26 – That’s a whole lot of travelling.
This is a game that is important to our season. Forget the lip-service from Mertesacker about the focus on this game. Success breeds success and a good result this weekend can only build confidence before the 1st leg tie against Bayern.