Arsenal v Blackburn – FA Cup preview and team news

Arsenal, whose last trophy came via the FA Cup in 2005, take on Championship side Blackburn Rovers as they begin a crucial period of fixtures that sees them take on Bayern Munich in the Champions League as well as rivals for the Premier League top four in Tottenham and Everton in the next five games.

With the clash with Bundesliga giants Bayern coming just three days after the cup clash with the Blackburn, Arsene Wenger may be tempted to rest some of his star men, particularly those who are struggling with injury such as Jack Wilshere and Laurent Koscielny.

Instead, some fringe members of the Gunners’ squad may be given a run-out as the London club look to reach their second FA Cup quarter final in the last three seasons, with the likes of Tomas Rosicky, Abou Diaby, Gervinho, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andrey Arshavin all pushing for recalls. Elsewhere, club captain Thomas Vermaelen may be given a start ahead of the return of the Champions League in midweek having been suffering from an ankle problem of late.

Visitors Blackburn, on their third manager of the season in Michael Appleton, have picked up some form of late, only losing once in the whole of 2013 to date in all competitoins to leave them just outside the play-off positions.

Rovers will have on-loan midfielder David Bentley available to play against his former club while fellow loanee, Karim Rekik, a defender from Manchester City, could also start. Up front, Jordan Rhodes looks set to test himself against Premier League opposition after hitting some sparkling form for the Lancashire-based club of late.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Arsenal v Blackburn

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