I am not sure who I am most fearful of today, Blackburn Rovers who have discovered a bit of form of late or referee Mike Dean who has a wonderful record against us. Always seems to pull out a performance when it comes to facing us. If we were as consistent as Dean then you'd have to say that we were a good shout for the league title. That's right I suggest you bet on march madness here
Whatever hurdles we may face today, we are favourites for a place in this years quarter finals, there is no complacency in that statement merely an observation based on the positions the two teams find themselves in at present. But as we have been already reminded this season, a gap in leagues does not guarantee victory, ask Bradford City. I must say though, I am very happy that we have this fixture at the comforts of home surroundings. A possible rotated and perhaps partly young team having to travel to Ewood Park with Bayern Munich around the corner would have had the TV producers licking their lips. I am hoping that home advantage will prove too much for the visitors to overcome. In truth I have absolutely no idea about how 2013 Blackburn Rovers play the game, I don't know if they are a route one, passing or defensive team and I guess it won't be long until we find out.
While the FA cup is very important, you cannot help but see that huge shadow that is standing behind us, the shadow of Bayern Munich in midweek. Playing the same eleven players in both matches is not really an option especially with players nursing knocks and niggles. Arsene has said that Thomas Vermaelen is in the squad for today but that both Laurent Koscielny and Jack Wilshere will be having fitness tests. I do not expect the latter to be involved in any capacity even more so given his heroics for England recently.
I expect the most amount of rotation to happen in midfield with Ramsey, Diaby and Rosicky all coming into the starting 11. I would be shocked if any of our current first team midfielder's started the game. I will be up for a ruck if Rosicky isn't starting this one. Personally I wouldn't start with either Bacary Sagna or Thomas Vermaelen instead opting for Coquelin and Miquel respectively but I do not see Arsene doing that. Usually in these games you are always fretting over one player or other.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up:
Hopefully Lukas Podolski will be sharpening up his boots before Bayern. There is no reason why he shouldn't start this one given that he was relegated to the bench at Sunderland.
The good news is that we should have a match winning bench if needed as was the case against Brighton in the last round.
Going to have to make this short today, but enjoy the game and hopefully we can celebrate advancing through to the next round without any injuries.
That has got to be the aim for today. Come on you Gunners.