Now that the euphoria of the weekend has died down a tad, it’s the turn of the kids to take the limelight and see what they can do against one of our more frequent opposition in recent years, Blackburn Rovers. I really hate Mark Hughes. I despise the way he reacts to every single refereeing decision against his team as if it’s the greatest travesty ever experienced by mankind. At the weekend his team were given a penalty for absolutely nothing, which McCarthy messed up, and then Brett Emerton, ultra dirty aussie bastard that he is, got sent off for two fairly blatant yellow card offences, and at the end of the game Hughes still managed to criticise the ref for a horrific performance. I hate that rat faced poxy little shite Bentley too. Of all the teams I’ve wanted to see our reserve team piss all over in recent years, Blackburn rank pretty near the top.
That’s not to say that this will be an easy game, however. In recent years they’ve proved themselves to be relatively difficult opposition for us, and will probably play a full strength team with this being a semi-realistic chance of silverware for them. Blackburn were in fairly good form at the start of this season, but have now lost four of their last six league games, most recently getting turned over 5-3 by Wigan, and have dropped out of the European places into ninth in the table. But this is a cup game, with an experienced, thuggish team against our innocent young kiddies, so anything can happen. Traore, Senderos, Walcott and Denilson were all involved in the FA Cup defeat here last year, so they’ll surely be up for a revenge mission.
In all competitions at Ewood Park since Arsene took over, we’ve won six times, drawn once and lost three times. Our last cup game at this ground went a bit wrong, and our most recent memory of the stadium is a Jens blunder costing us two points, so it’s about time we had some more positive memories.
Theo Walcott and Emmanuel Eboue are the only injury worries for us ahead of this game, and according to Wenger’s comments last week Theo should be ready for this game. Eboue probably wouldn’t have been involved if Theo was available anyway. At the moment we essentially have no major injuries whatsoever. Can’t be long before half our team gets carted off to a hospital because they’ve been butchered by Gary Lewin during one of his physio sessions of doom, so let’s enjoy it in the meantime. The team will be pretty much what I’ve put below, except maybe with Song at centre back, and Gilberto in midfield in place of Diarra or Denilson. In fact that’s probably more likely, I’d just prefer to see the below. With this fixture falling between league games against Chelsea and Spurs, there’s no chance of any first choice players getting a run out on Tuesday. Except maybe Toure. He hardly ever gets rested. And potentially van Persie. Wenger might use this game to give him some more match practice, but I suspect it’s more likely that Eduardo and Bendtner will play up front and Robin will just get some intensive training ahead of the game at the weekend. The formation will alternate between 4-4-2 and 4-5-1, with Diaby able to come infield and Eduardo moving further wide.
Subs: Mannone, Song, Gibbs, Barazite, Merida.
Our hosts will only be missing one player through injury in Andre Ooijer who is out till February, so apart from that they have a full squad to pick from too and I expect they will go near full strength, maybe with a couple of non-regular starters like Derbyshire getting a chance. Emerton should (I may be talking shite) be suspended after his red card against Wigan. Last time I checked, red card bans, no matter the length, are enforced immediately. I’m never sure though. I am sure, however, that they’ll have some equally thuggish in reserve ready to double our injury list.