Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers: Match Preview

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Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers; FA Cup fifth round; Emirates Stadium; Saturday, 16th February 2013.

Team News

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger will make a number of changes with a Champions League match against Bayern Munich on the horizon, with Jack Wilshere likely to miss out after suffering a dead leg against Sunderland last weekend.

Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny are confirmed absentees alongside Kieran Gibbs, whilst Carl Jenkinson is suspended. Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott are likely to be kept in reserve.

Manchester City loanee Karim Rekik could be in the travelling party and in-line for his Blackburn debut in north London, whilst David Bentley has also joined in time to feature.

Morten Gamst Pedersen and DJ Campbell are vying for a starting spot, but Michael Appleton has plenty of options at his disposal.

Oxlade-Chamberlain aware of Blackburn dangers

Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain admits Blackburn Rovers must be approached with caution in the fifth round of the FA Cup this weekend.

The Gunners host Championship Rovers at the Emirates Stadium after seeing off Brighton in the last round, and ‘the Ox’ believes concentration is the key to success for the Gunners against their lower-league opponents.

"I think that's the biggest danger in these games. As a professional you always try to remain 100 per cent focused, but there is a human element too, and sometimes you may lose concentration without even realising,” he told the official Arsenal programme.

"You have to try to maintain your normal levels, treat the opposition with respect, and I think we did that against Brighton in the last round. 

“They played some good stuff, but we approached it correctly and to get through was a real show of character, especially when we saw what happened to some of the other big teams that weekend."

Despite the obvious favourites tag, Oxlade-Chamberlain knows upsets are always possible in the FA Cup, and that a lack of focus could lead to an unexpected exit.

But, with a piece of silverware getting ever closer for the Gunners, the England international believes both the fans and the manager deserve a top performance.

"You never know what might happen. You always get strange results and big upsets in the FA Cup especially. When a big club takes on a lower league side, anything can happen,” he added.

“If you switch off at all, and the opponents are up for it, they will punish you. We have to give the type of performance that we owe to ourselves, that the fans deserve and that the manager deserves. 

“If we are focused on doing that I'm sure we can get through to the next round."

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