Blackburn Rovers V Arsenal
28th February 2007
Arsenal will be forced to play some of the 'Carling Cup kids` on Wednesday as they continue their hunt for silverware.
The omens are not good I`m afraid, it`s up north, it`s late, it`s midweek and the forecast is for some rough weather. Injuries to several key players, including Thierry Henry and Tomas Rosicky has also cast major doubts over Arsenal`s chances of qualifying for the next round.
Be not afraid though Arsenal fans, doubts have been cast over Arsenal`s cup kids this season when they have faced Everton, Liverpool and Tottenham and they have come out on top every time.
Arsenal will look to William Gallas, Gilberto and Baptista to lead the youngsters in what is sure to be a physical encounter. Lilly Savage may still be injured but they still have players in the team that like to 'get stuck in.`
Arsenal should have the physical presence to cope with whatever Blackburn throw at them tonight with Fabregas rested and major doubts over Flamini`s fitness, Denilson looks set to partner Gilberto in an all Brazilian centre-midfield. We all know that Gilberto can handle the rough stuff and Denilson has certainly looked like he can since he came into the team.
Arsene Wenger says the most important thing is to bounce back from Sunday's defeat: 'For us it is important just to win and to qualify to get positive vibes again after our disappointment on Sunday.
'The FA Cup is another chance for us to go to another final and win a trophy.'
'It is another important week, but we want to negotiate it better than we did the last one.'
Mark Hughes is pleased to have an(almost) full squad to choose from: 'I haven't had that opportunity on that many occasions this season.
'People have come back and are fit and it gives me more options. It is all about picking the right combinations.'
Blackburn Team News:
Chris Samba (knee)is Blackburn's only doubt for the match.
Benni McCarthy returns and is likely to replace Matt Derbyshire as the lone striker.
Player to watch: Benni McCarthy
The former Porto striker has had a fantastic debut season in the Premiership.
He's scored some important goals including the winner against Liverpool in the League.
Arsenal Team News:
Where do I start? Henry, Diaby, Rosicky, Walcott, Djourou, Hoyte and Van Persie are all out injured while Flamini is a major doubt.
Toure and Adebayor are alos out as they start their 3-match bans.
Player to watch: Aliadiere
The Frenchman has been in good form in the last 8 weeks, espically in cup competitions. He's stated that he is up for this match and I believe his pace and determination could just prove vital for Arsenal
Blackburn have won only 2 of their last 6 games. A 1-0 victory over Sheffield United and a 3-0 victory over Portsmouth.
Last 6: P6 W2 D2 L2
Arsenal's form is identical to Blackburn's although they have lost their last 2 games. a 3-1 victory over Bolton followed a 2-1 victory over Wigan.
Last 6: P6 W2 D2 L2
Graham Poll is the man in black for this one. Let's hope he remembers how to use his cards...for a change!
2-1 to The Arsenal Gilberto and Denilson for Arsenal, Bentley for Rovers.