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FA Cup exit

Bayern warm-up goes awry for Arsenal

Arsenal’s preparations for Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Bayern were dealt a blow on Saturday when the Gunners lost their FA Cup fifth-round tie at home to second division Blackburn Rovers by a narrow 1-0 scoreline.

A 60,070 crowd at Emirates Stadium saw Arsenal utterly dominate, but fail to translate their superiority into goals. The visitors pulled every man back, but Colin Kazim-Richards netted what proved the winner on a rare counter-attack after 72 minutes. For the home team, Diaby (24, 87), Gervinho (43), Theo Walcott (89) and Tomas Rosicky, who hit the post after 68 minutes, all missed presentable chances.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger chose to rest a number of his regulars, with Lukas Podolski spending the 90 minutes on the bench, and Per Mertesacker not even named in the squad. Jack Wilshere, Walcott and Santi Cazorla all came on after 71 minutes, but were unable to prevent the Gunners’ first home defeat in the FA Cup since 1997.

Arsenal line-up versus Blackburn:
Szczesny - Coquelin, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Monreal - Diaby, Rosicky (Cazorla 71), Arteta, Gervinho (Walcott 71), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Wilshere 71) - Giroud