You can safely say it’s the first day of spring. Here in Bristol, the clouds have taken a day off and taken the miserable air and chills with them. It’s a beautiful day. No better day for FA Cup football.
Blackburn are shit. They were shit when we walloped them last season, shit when they got relegated and have since been shit in the Championship. That fact worries me no end. When faced with formidable opponents, our players are forced into a state of concentration – as I expect they will be when Bayern come calling. Complacency is our worst enemy at times, and that’s what I fear most today. Blackburn may be shit, but they have enough players with Premiership experience to cause us problems if they play to the occasion.
The team news mostly surrounds our defence. Jenkinson will miss the game through suspension, Vermaelen is definitely out, and Koscielny faces a late fitness test. Wilshere, Cazorla and other notable faces are widely tipped to not feature today in order to keep them fresh for Tuesday.
It’s particularly tricky to guess Wenger’s selection. Assuming Koscielny fails his test, we could very well be witness to the unbridled horror of Squillaci taking to the field, or Sagna could slot-in alongside Mertesacker with Aaron Ramsey or young Hector Bellerin filling in at right-back. I expect there to be a few surprises today, and a few names rested.
My (wild) guess at the line-up would be:
That’s just one possibilty. Others include Gervinho or Giroud starting as the attack’s focal point.
I expect a win today. Bradford was a harsh and humiliating lesson learnt, and that lower-league banana skin has, hopefully, been traversed for the foreseeable future. A solid, focused performnace should see nothing other than comfortable progression to the quarter-finals, but this is the FA Cup – what’s should happen could very well not. Form and superiority go out the window on days like this, and we’ll have to expect Blackburn to play above their means.
I’ll stick what little reputation I have and go for a jittery 2-1 win for the Arsenal, with a winner from Diaby – not sure why, I have an inkling he’ll score today if selected.
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That’s all for today, folks. Leave a comment or two with your views on the team, and your predictions for the outcome. I shall return tomorrow with a review and other bits.
Thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.