Last season, Arsenal and Blackburn produced 15 goals in their two Premier League fixtures, so expect an exciting FA Cup 5th Round clash. Just over a year ago to the day, these sides played at the Emirates in a game that produced 8 goals (albeit 7 were from Arsenal).
Now under the wise managerial eye of Michael Appleton, Blackburn Rovers have a newly found sense of belief and will believe that a result here is an achievable task.
Blackburn have won six of their last ten, with Jordan Rhodes scoring nine goals in those ten games. The on-from Blackburn striker will be eager to prove himself against opposition of Arsenal’s calibre. With The Gunners going through a defensive injury crisis, Rover’s Rhodes and DJ Campbell can surely muster up a goal or two between them. But can Blackburn stop Arsenal from scoring?
Now separated by a division and Wenger’s side all but out of the Premier League title race, both teams will feel that they have a point to prove. Blackburn fans will be hopeful that they can pull a major upset.
Some key battles on the pitch will include Oxlade-Chamberlain, a player who has been criticised this season for being overly-reliant on his pace, who will trade blows with one of the paciest full-backs in England: Swedish international Martin Olsson.
Other key battles will be the aging but highly-intelligent footballing ability of Danny Murphy against Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta who has become a key player for The Gunners this season. Whichever of these payers can manage to control the game, their side will surely be the victor.
Arsenal have struggled against lower league teams in cups already this season, falling foul to Bradford in December. But Wenger will target this cup as his most realistic opportunity to end the Gunner’s trophy drought. Not to mention the distraction of an intimidating Champions League clash with Bayern Munich peering over the horizon, there could easily be an upset in this game.
Arsenal have remained unbeaten in 34 games against lower ranked sides in the FA Cup, they are also unbeaten in 34 FA Cup ties at home . Expect Arsenal to take it, but only just.