The Armchair Gooner

An Arsenal blog bringing you news, opinion and humour on a daily basis. Well, I'll try at the very least…

Arsenal’s starting XI for the cup tie with Blackburn (match preview and team news)

Saturday February 16th: FA Cup, Blackburn (h): A match preview coming to you from sunny Bristol.

Morning. folks.

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.

If you’re looking to wager some cash of your own on a prediction, head on over to Bet Victor and register as a new member. All new customers will a recieve a new bet to the value of £25. You can register here.

Arsenal vs Blackburn odds.

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.

Category: Match previews
  • Kelvin French. says:

    Its our best chance for a trophy today and Wenger will rest too many players and make us lose. If we lose he must be sacked today. WENGER OUT!!

    February 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm
    • Stephen says:

      If we win you must be sacked

      February 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm
    • bc says:

      Kelvin how fuck is it our best chance of a trophy today? last i heard this is the 5th round and rather like finishing 4th in the league i have to disappoint you. we will not win a trophy today.

      February 16, 2013 at 3:14 pm
  • Ian says:

    Should be an easy win today. I reckon 5-0 Gooners.

    February 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm
  • Ryan Flannigan says:

    kELVIN:

    Shut up with your stupid remarks!!

    Why should wenger be sacked? who wud we get in his place? The man is a arsenal legend and we need him.

    February 16, 2013 at 1:25 pm
  • Philbet says:

    Great response Kevin,always look on the bright side that way eventually one day you will be right and your satisfaction we be overwhelming….wait a minute then you will be wanting to lose the next game and for the new manager to be sacked !!!
    we live in a world inhabited by strange people.

    February 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm
    • edward owen says:

      These so called strange people have been waiting 8 yrs for a trophy,our ticket prices are the dearest in the prem and our manager is the highest earner in the prem why ?

      February 16, 2013 at 2:32 pm
  • Gooner Girl19 says:

    Easy win 3-0. Theo to get 2 and I reckon Diaby as well!

    February 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm
  • joseph says:

    I don’t like ramsey I?̶̲̥?n?̶̲̥? that match cazola would ve been better

    February 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm
  • Gary says:

    Wenger is the best man for the job. Ramsey is good and is getting better always. Love your team and enjoy watching them and stop slagging your own team and teammates off !

    February 16, 2013 at 3:28 pm
  • phemy says:

    KELVIN,I absolutely concur with your comment about sacking arsene wenger,we can’t really wait for 50yrs like chelsea before we can win a cup,I could recollect,when arsene came his first trophy was won by arguably the. Best players in the concluded 1998 fifa world cup in france, and those players cost so much for arsenal to assemble them,I think arsene should step aside for the new era to begins afterall he has attain the legendary status .

    February 16, 2013 at 7:36 pm

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