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Blackburn Rovers vs. Arsenal

Ewood Park

28th February 2007


Rovers .v. Arsenal

Here we are again, round four of this season`s Blackburn Rovers versus Arsenal spectacular. Arsenal edge the contest, well dominate it really, but Rovers have a real chance to make a difference with victory in Wednesday nights F. A. Cup fifth round reply.

Rovers` much maligned display at the Emirates some ten days ago ensured that the small town Lancashire side still have a cup competition to compete in after their heart-breaking and agonizing defeat at the hands of the German`s last week.

Still there won`t be any German`s handing the opposition a lifeline in this fixture as Arsene Wenger has a number of injury and selection problems to contend with. With that in mind and Mark Hughes` squad, by contrast fitter and stronger, it appear that Hughes decision to defend for 90 minutes at the Emirates was an inspired turn.

Rovers will certainly look to attack in this second leg and with Shabani Nonda bang in form and Benni McCarthy returning rejuvenated Rovers fans have every reason to be optimistic.

Vital Quotes:

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "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 on the squad options: "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 Rovers Team News:

Ryan Nelsen missed the win over Portsmouth with a slight strain and Chris Samba had to be replaced at half time. However, both are deemed fit enough for Wednesday nights replay.

Also returning could be Benni McCarthy. He is likely to take the place of Matt Derbyshire as Shabani Nonda grabbed a brace in the last game.

Rovers from: Friedel, Emerton, Henchoz, Khizanishvili, Nelsen, Samba, Todd, Warnock, Berner, Bentley, Tugay, Mokoena, Dunn, Pedersen, McCarthy, Roberts, Nonda, Brown, Derbyshire, Gallagher.

Player to watch: Benni McCarthy

His rest will hopefully see Rovers` top-scorer end his goal draught on Wednesday. The South African hit-man has been off-form lately but will be keen to find his midas touch once more to aid Rovers` pursuit of Silverware.

Without Toure in Arsenal`s defence is an added bonus as McCarthy will be able to bring all his experience and skill to the fore.

Arsenal Team News:

Arsenal are depleted with injuries and suspensions to key players. Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure are both suspended following Sunday`s cup final brawl. Also absent is Thierry Henry, Tomas Rosicky and Abou Diaby. Wenger has confirmed that Cesc Fabregas will also be rested.

So Arsenal arrive at Ewood with a stretched first team, giving Rovers an excellent chance of progressing.

Arsenal from: Almunia, Gallas, Senderos, Djourou, Clichy, Hleb, Gilberto, Fabregas, Rosicky, Henry, Adebayor, Poom, Ljungberg, Denilson, Flamini, Aliadiere, Baptista, Traore.

Player to watch: Jeremie Aliadiere

The rapid Frenchman has been an improved player this season demonstrating just why Arsene Wenger thought so highly of him. This will be a rare Premiership start for him with injuries to Henry and Robin van Persie and suspension to Adebayor making him the recognised partner for another improving player, Julio Baptista.

The pair have an excellent understanding following their League Cup displays together this season but it will be the pace of Aliadiere that will be the worry for Rovers.

Match Facts & Stats

Click on the three links below for highlights of Rovers first three battles against Arsenal this season, the most recent of which shows Brad Friedel single-handedly repel all the Gunners can firs at him.

Click here to see Big Bad Brad`s amazing double save in the F A Cup tie.

View the highlights of Rovers` last visit to the Emirates.

View Rovers` last game against Arsenal here.

Ref Watch:

Graeme Poll is the match official for the Wednesday night reply.

Match Prediction:

It will definitely be a more open game than the first tie at The Emirates, but there won`t be any prizes for that statement. Arsenal`s hoodoo over Rovers finally came to end in the first game and that, coupled with Rovers` three consecutive clean sheets, will provide the home side with a major boost. Another factor that could play a part might team rotation. Wenger will be forced to shuffle the pack again because of injuries whereas Mark Hughes only has welcome headaches. I fancy Rovers to clinch a place in the quarter finals with an extra-time win.

Next Fixtures:

Bolton at the Reebok on Sunday.

The Journalist

Writer: Roversman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday February 28 2007

Time: 1:20PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
This wont be a rare premiership start for Aliadiere as its an FA cup game!!
Ashburton Gooner
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28/02/2007 13:42:00
Come on you Rovers!
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28/02/2007 14:20:00
You know what he meant Ashburton... I'm looking forward to a cracking game tonight, can see it being a good game guys with Rovers just edging it in extra time!
Hughes Da Man
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28/02/2007 16:06:00
All the best Hughes, here's to a cracking game and let the best team win.
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28/02/2007 18:56:00
The game sounds like it's as dull as ditchwter, by the way »»Arsene Knows««
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28/02/2007 20:31:00
dearie me... i see you've got away with another penalty against us. The god (and graham poll) are shining on you... »»Arsene Knows««
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28/02/2007 20:31:00
I would love to come here & wish you luck, but the fact is I think you have had enough luck against us this season. Decision after decision has gone for blackburn against arsenal this season. I don't know how many fouls blackburn players committed tonight, yet arsenal got just 1 less yellow card. Graham Poll bottled it big time proving yet again he is not fit to referee. He went to book dunn realised he already had & stopped himself & he turned down 2 nailed on penalties, with the ref in the first game turning down another blatant penalty. I can take losing if it's fair, but blackburn & the ref have been anything but.............................!! ROBBED
Ashburton Gooner
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28/02/2007 21:57:00
Ashburton get over yourself. We physically dominated in both legs. Samba was an absolute rock. You could not finish your chances and it cost you, just like it cost us against Leverkusen. I think when McCarthy Scored i woke up the whole house, 8.30am here in Sydney. WOOHOOOOOOOO!!!! Bring on Man City
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28/02/2007 22:04:00
i will though, AG. I didnt see the game live, so i don't knwo if I'd say this if I had, but best of luck. But from the sounds of it, that's 2 pens we've had waved away against you guys in this tie. Just listening to some Blackburn fan who's the first caller on 606, complaining about bbc commentators bias against his team. Funny, that's exactly how we feel when they accuse us of being bad losers, divers, foulers, etc. can't help but chuckle at it all. Anyhooze, good luck in the cup lads. »»Arsene Knows««
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28/02/2007 22:05:00
sasman, if we'd dominated you guys, you'd have been bleating about us being too physical, guaranteed. I bet you were accusing gilberto of violent conduct when he retaliated against that blonde haired fop of a fouling tart known as lily, after lily had kicked him in the back when we beat you in the league. I just felt you might do for us tonight though, what with having beaten you both times in the league, same reason i cthink we might come-a-cropper away at 'pool in the league. »»Arsene Knows««
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28/02/2007 22:15:00
30 fouls you committed & got 4 yellow cards, 2 of which were for mouthing. That means your players picked up 1 yellow every 15 fouls..................Pathetic refereeing. We had 62% possession & created all the chances. As for you lot physically dominating, I think you should get over yourself, your players couldn't get close enough to dominate. I kept hearing on here that with your better players you would attack more, I didn't realise when you said attack more you meant the ref. You created nothing for 2 games, but one excellent finish & two awful refs have cost us!!
Ashburton Gooner
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28/02/2007 22:15:00
So Baptistas missed chances didnt cost you did it? No typical anti rover bagger. We won, you lost thats the result. We played in a manner which got us the win. Thats final
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28/02/2007 22:18:00
Well done lads! The penalty decisions over the two legs were terrible, but that's not your fault, just inept refereeing! Maybe the bad decisions might even themselves out in the Champions League for us. Anyway, good luck for the rest of the tournament, and I hope you go on to win it!
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28/02/2007 22:22:00
Thanks FLV, i can admit, the penalty was a bad call but good luck in the Champions League, any1 bar Chelsea for me lol. My brother supports them, gets on my nerves
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28/02/2007 22:27:00
I'm not going to try and deny at least one was a nailed on penalty, it was Poll didn't give it so its his fault not mine, sasman's, any other Rovers fan, Hughes' or even Emerton's, the blame lays firmly at Poll's feet! Simple truth is Arsenal didn't take the chances over tow games, we stood firm. If you looked over each and every one of the fouls the vast majority were nothing, so don't accept your argument there AG. If you don't take chances you are inveriably punished and Arsenal were. On another day you would have won convincingly but you didn't same goes for us against Leverkusen last week. Good luck for the Champions League and the rest of the Premiership season, we'll see you next term... Now bring on the City, the semi-finals await!
Hughes Da Man
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28/02/2007 22:38:00
HDM, i understand that, fella. it's just kinda annoying, but there ya go :-) the point still stands, we should have taken one of the chances we had. You guys took one of yours, so we're out. Hands held out, and we'll not be seeing wembley this year apart fom on the telly... »»Arsene Knows««
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28/02/2007 23:27:00
* hands held up, not out - I'm no david koresh... »»Arsene Knows««
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28/02/2007 23:27:00
Great goal!!
Ed Junior
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28/02/2007 23:32:00
Well done guys Fantastic goal by Bennie :) hope you get to the final now.
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28/02/2007 23:56:00
We all feel the frustration on nights like this, god knows I did last week when we wnet out of Europe, still gutted about this, will be even more so when the next round comes round. Was just one of those night's when it wasn't to be for Arsenal... Maybe Rovers' name is on the Cup?!?! I tell ya this, if Chelsea and United go out in the QF's it is well and truely there for the taking!
Hughes Da Man
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01/03/2007 00:04:00
Thanks guys, It was a fantastic strike wasn't it, didn't even have to look at the goal as he knew exactly where it was and exactly what he wantd to do. I'd love us to go on and win the Cup now. At the least we've got a 1 in 8 chance eh :)
Hughes Da Man
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01/03/2007 00:06:00
Well, i'll say it then. I don't think either incident was a penalty in the slightest. The first one was, if anything, a kick at Friedels arms, and was lucky to escape a yellow for diving. Freddie had a decent shout, and if he hadn't gone down with a triple pike he may have got something, however, it was clearly a couple of yards outside the box, and whether it was a foul or not, no penalty (The one in the first leg, on the other hand...)
Head Rover Heels
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01/03/2007 11:34:00
I totally agree Head Rover Heels first incident aliadiere dived and the second one brett clipped him outside the box.It was a foul but not a penalty.
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01/03/2007 18:37:00

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