Thoughts on Arsenal Drawing Blackburn in FA Cup 5th Round

Arsenal have been drawn at home to Blackburn Rovers in the fifth round of the FA Cup, the game is currently due to be played on February 16th; just 3 days prior to us hosting Bayern Munich.

No doubt the Champions League clash will be on Wenger’s mind and therefore I would expect to see a similar line up to that of yesterday, with the ‘big guns’ of Wilshere, Walcott, Cazorla, Gibbs and co on the bench again, just in case. Although you’d expect us to be capable of winning, especially at home.

Nonetheless Blackburn have been at times somewhat of a bogey team for us, and although they were relegated and are now in the Championship they will still pose a threat if we become complacent.

Blackburn will provide a similar game to the Brighton one, with them both fairly even. Blackburn sit 5 points behind Brighton in their league but Blackburn’s most recent game was against Brighton last Tuesday and produced a 1-1 draw.

The FA Cup gives us a great chance to win a trophy this season, and although we are far from there it is our best opportunity. Therefore we need to make sure we don’t slip up against Blackburn and secure our place in the quarter-finals, but at the same we don’t risk having to field our best team for them to then give an average performance against Bayern as we’ll need to be on top of our game to give ourselves the best chance of progressing in the Champions League when we visit the Alllianz Arena.

Other fixtures in the 5th round were as follows:

Huddersfield or Leicester v Wigan

Luton v Millwall

Man City v Leeds United

Man United v Reading

Middlesbrough v Brentford or Chelsea

MK Dons v Barnsley

Oldham v Everton

Wenger Full Press Conference Post-Brighton Win

Wenger admitted Arsenal were slow out of the blocks against a Brighton side who played some good football, and it was vital that the job was done without needing a replay.

“We had a little bit a slow start, they were sharper than us in the first half but in the second we were much more in the game and created chances.

“Overall they play a game that is a very positive, technical game. They had a great spirit today. Especially on the right flank they gave us many problems.

“In the end we got that little bit of extra quality that got us through. We did our job.”

Although many fans, myself included, will feel Santos was the cause of the problems on the right flank rather than their ‘technical game’.

On Giroud, Wenger said it was “[good] for his confidence, he’s scored 4 goals this week. He has a presence in the box, he is dangerous, and his physical presence was very important today.

When asked whether he wanted to bring a new striker, Wenger was cautious with his wording but didn’t rule it out.

“Quality wise, no [we don’t need a new striker]. Number wise, we could be a bit short maybe.

“You do not find them in the street, the strikers who can play for us and strengthen our team. It is difficult in January.

“No [we haven’t made an offer or formal enquiry for Fiorentina’s Jovetic].

“No [we don’t intend to in the next few days].

Next he was questioned on his decision on his starting selection and whether he felt it was a risk that hadn’t paid off with 30 minutes left.

“Yes of course that’s a gamble that you take, you know it can back fire but I left a few out, for example, Cazorla today completely, but it was for medical reasons. He couldn’t play and it was very risky to play him. Jack a little bit too protect his ankle.

“Yes it was [a brave move], but you can not as well with the number of games we play, play only with the same 11 in every single game.

“You have to rotate knowing that if it doesn’t work you will be of course accused of having made the wrong decision.”

Finally Wenger was asked whether he was more optimistic on signing a midfielder than a striker.

“I cannot tell you that. In this kind of job it’s realism that is very important, at the moment honestly, realistically, I cannot promise you that I will sign any player tomorrow, or Tuesday or Sunday, because we are not close to do it.”