Live Commentary: Arsenal 0-1 Blackburn Rovers - as it happened

Blackburn's Colin Kazim-Richards celebrates his goal against Arsenal in the FA Cup 5th round on February 16, 2013
© PA Photos
Find out how Blackburn Rovers managed to overcome Arsenal in the FA Cup with Sports Mole's text updates.

Arsenal's best chance of ending their eight-year wait for trophy appeared to be this season's FA Cup.

Today, the hosting Gunners were made big favourites to advance through to the quarter-finals of the competition as Blackburn Rovers visited the Emirates Stadium.

However, the Championship outfit not only frustrated the home side, they also scored the only goal of the game in the second half through Colin Kazim-Richards to book their place in the last eight at the expense of Arsene Wenger's team.

You can find out how they pulled off the shock with our minute-by-minute commentary below.


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2.02pmAfternoon all. It's FA Cup weekend again - it doesn't half come around quickly! It seems like only a few days ago that we were watching the fourth-round matches. Anyway, we've got a classic tie this afternoon as a Championship underdog visits a Premier League giant - Arsenal vs. Blackburn Rovers.

2.04pmLet's be honest, all logic suggests that Arsenal will win today. They are the Premier League club, they've got a host of internationals to call upon and they are playing at home. But this is the FA Cup and as we've seen on so many occasions, literally anything can happen.

2.07pmAnd "anything can happen" when a certain Jordan Rhodes is around. Having been sold by Ipswich Town in 2009, the youngster kept his head down and scored a lot of goals for Huddersfield Town. That form prompted an £8m bid from Blackburn in the summer and he has continued to score goals this season - 20 to be exact.

2.09pmInterestingly, he has never come up against a Premier League side. It will be intriguing to see how he copes. With the greatest respect, he may get some joy against Arsenal because they've not exactly been watertight this season. The likes of Per Mertesacker have looked shaky to say the least.

2.12pmAnyway, that's enough pre-match chat for a few minutes because the team news from the Emirates Stadium has just been released...

2.13pmARSENAL XI: Szczesny; Coquelin, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Monreal; Diaby, Rosicky, Arteta, Gervinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Giroud

2.14pmWell, the big news from an Arsenal point of view is that Jack Wilshere has not been included. With Bayern Munich in the Champions League on the horizon, Arsene Wenger has opted to rest his star midfielder. Mikel Arteta is fit and will start though, as does Gervinho and Francis Coquelin.

2.17pmBLACKBURN XI: Kean; Orr, Dann, Hanley, Martin Olsson; Pedersen, Williamson, Lowe, Markus Olsson, Richards; Rhodes

2.19pmAs expected Rhodes starts as a lone frontman for the visitors. He will be supported by Colin Kazim-Richards, who is capable of creating danger. There is however no place in the starting lineup for Tottenham Hotspur loanee David Bentley, who rejoined the club on a loan basis yesterday afternoon.

2.22pmJust one more point on Rhodes before we move on because the Scottish striker has impressed Arsenal boss Wenger in recent seasons.

"When you look at his record it is quite impressive," Wenger told reporters. "You wonder today what kind of career this boy, would have had if he had gone to a big club at 18 or 19.

"Rhodes has scored 20 goals in 25 games so he must have something special and a big intelligence in the box.

"He has a big level of anticipation and he is a skilful finisher. You don't see him too much outside the box in participation but when you look at his record it is impressive. He can prove [his talent], yes, but I hope not against us."


2.27pmTurning attentions to Arsenal and they will be boosted by the return of Mikel Arteta in the heart of their midfield. The Spaniard has been absent for a couple of weeks with a muscular injury. Ahead of the Bayern match on Tuesday, his presence will be very much welcomed. With the midweek encounter in mind, it's doubtful that he'll complete 90 minutes today.

2.31pmAs mentioned in the introduction, one thing that we should hopefully see today is goals. Last season at the Emirates Arsenal ran out 7-1 winners, while at Ewood Park Blackburn won through 4-3. If this is 0-0 today, I'll be amazed!

2.33pmFor those that have forgotten, and I'm sure most Blackburn fans have tried, here are the highlights from that 7-1 victory for Arsenal:


2.37pmOne thing that may have Blackburn fans, management and players worried is the Arsenal bench. If things are not going right for the home team, they've got a host of options to choose from. Here is who has made both benches:

ARSENAL: Sagna, Walcott, Podolski, Wilshere, Cazorla, Ramsey, Mannone

BLACKBURN: Givet, Nunes, Gomes, Rekik, Goodwillie, Usai, Bentley


2.40pmOne person that is hopeful of an upset though is Blackburn manager Michael Appleton:

"It is a situation where we'll have a lot of fans travelling down to Arsenal on Saturday expecting the players to put in a right shift and give everything for the football club like they did on Tuesday," he told Sky Sports News.

"When you arrive at the stadium, you feel the buzz of the FA Cup, all of a sudden you genuinely believe that maybe this is another game that we can win.

"You just don't know, if Arsenal have an off day and we have a good day then you find yourself in the last eight and all your worries as to whether this is a game too much will be gone. We'd have a last-eight cup tie, maybe at Ewood Park against another big boy."


2.46pmAnd an "off day" is something that Arsenal manager Wenger is hoping to guard against. The Frenchman is aware of what his side are up against today:

"They have nothing to lose and they have a squad of Premier League players. If you look at who is in their squad they have many players who have Premier League experience," he said.


2.50pmThere's one other line from the FA Cup to bring you and Luton Town's run in the competition is over. They have been defeated 3-0 at home by Millwall of the Championship in the early encounter. You can read Sports Mole's match report here.

2.55pmOne final statistic before we get started - Blackburn fans, you may want to avert your eyes. Rovers have not won away to Arsenal since October 2002. Since then, some of the scorelines have included 7-1, 6-2 (twice) and 3-0 (three times).

2.58pmRight, here come the players. The Emirates seems pretty quiet at the moment. Let's hope that corrects itself soon. The handshakes are now completed and we will be off and running shortly.

1 minWe are underway at the Emirates...

3 minCHANCE! An early opportunity for the visitors as Morten Gamst Pedersen swings over a free kick from on the left. Scott Dann meets the ball in the air, but his connection is not overly clean and his effort skids wide of the target. Positive start for Rovers nonetheless.

6 minArsenal are now beginning to find their stride. They are knocking the ball around with purpose and have Blackburn on the back foot. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has just drilled in a dangerous cross from the right, but nobody from Arsenal attacks the ball and the danger is cleared.

9 minCHANCE! First sight of goal for the Gunners as Abou Diaby attempts to flick a header when running away from the target into the goal. His radar is a little off though and the ball lands on the roof of the net. It was clever effort from the French international.

11 minBOOKING! An early yellow card for Blackburn as Bradley Orr is rightly punished for a late sliding challenge on Gervinho. The defender can have no complaints because he halted the Ivorian in full flow wide on the left.

15 minIt's all Arsenal at the moment but they are yet to test young Jake Kean in the Blackburn goal. Credit must go to the visiting defenders because they are standing firm and have cleared everything that has been thrown at them. You get the impression that they won't hold out all match though - there's a long way to go!

19 minIt is still really quiet at the Emirates. Granted their team has not given them much to shout about so far, but at the same time some support may lift the players. All you can hear currently is the away fans.

23 minSAVE! At last Kean has been called into action but the Blackburn keeper has shown that he is up to the task. Diaby is the man with the effort, which was a powerful header. Thankfully for Blackburn, Kean got his hand up in time to push clear the danger.

27 minWe've seen very little of Jordan Rhodes so far. The Scottish striker is feeding off scraps. He's spent more time chasing Arsenal defenders than he has on the ball. If possible, Blackburn need to get some support up their lone frontman quicker.

31 minSAVE! It's just been made known that Arsenal have already have 11 corners so far! The latest was looped goalwards by Thomas Vermaelen but Kean scampers across his line to claw away the danger. Despite his young age, Kean looks like a confident keeper.

36 minStill very little happening here. Arsenal are seeing all of the ball but in truth Blackburn look comfortable. Kean has had two saves to make, although neither stretched him too much. If you didn't know which of these sides was the Premier League team, you wouldn't be able to select between them.

40 minGervinho has just summed this match up. He cut inside with promise and lined up a shot 25 yards from goal. What followed was the technique of a Sunday League footballer. The Ivorian scuffed his effort completely and the ball trickled well wide of the upright.

45 minWe're going to have one minute of stoppage time here in North London...

45+1 minHALF-TIME: Arsenal 0-0 Blackburn

3.50pmWell, the less said about that 45 minutes the better! That's harsh on Blackburn to be fair, because they've defended well and more than competed with a side that is one division above them. When called upon, young keeper Kean has been on hand to keep the visitors level as well.

3.54pmFrom an Arsenal point of view, it has not been pretty. Wenger may not want to use his substitutes with Bayern Munich coming up during the week, but if things don't change early in the second half, we may well see the likes of Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla come on.

3.56pmOne player that I must confess I forgot was playing is Olivier Giroud. That's not too say that his lack of involvement is all the French striker's fault. Playing in his position, he needs service and the Arsenal midfield has failed to deliver that so far. He has cut a frustrated and forlorn figure at times.

4pmThere's been no shortage of entertainment in the other 3pm FA Cup tie though. At the break, Barnsley of the Championship are 2-0 up away at League One side MK Dons. The Tykes have been in great form of late under new manager David Flitcroft. It looks a long away back for the hosting Dons now.

45 minHere we go then - we are back underway at the Emirates...

47 minCHANCE! It's been a positive start from Blackburn and had Jason Lowe been a bit more positive, he may have put his side in front. He rose highest inside the area to head goalwards, but his effort was lacking in power and Arteta was able to clear.

51 minHere's some words on this game from former Arsenal defender Martin Keown, who is working for BBC Sport:

"It's certainly a better game now and Blackburn have started the second half well. There is a bit more purpose in their play, they have got use to their surroundings so maybe they can add a little more threat."


55 minNot quite sure I agree with Keown's "better game" sentiments, but there is not denying that Blackburn have been a little more positive since the break. Arsenal remain in control, but as in the first half, there is no cutting edge to their play at the moment.

60 minI'd love to give something positive in the way of an update, but it's not possible. Arsenal have been poor, while Blackburn look happy to settle for a draw already - which is understandable. The Gunners must bring on one or two or their more senior players. The game needs it.

63 minSUBSTITUTION: There is a change, but it's Blackburn that make it and not Arsenal. It is however met by jeers from the home faithful as Tottenham loanee David Bentley enters the action. He is also a former Arsenal trainee and made nine appearances for the Gunners.

67 minOFF THE BAR! A rare moment of brilliance in an otherwise dull tie! It's Tomas Rosicky who is the unlucky Arsenal player as his severing shot from 25 yards out beats Kean, but cannons to safety off the crossbar. Let's hope that livens things up a little bit.

69 minSAVE! It's taken almost 70 minutes, but Arsenal have woken up! Diaby has a pop from the edge of the area, but Kean was able to collect at the second attempt. There is much more intensity about Arsenal's play now.

71 minSUBSTITUTION: Here come the cavalry! Rosicky, Gervinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain are all off and Walcott, Wilshere and Cazorla are sent on in their places. It's a drastic change from Wenger but one that was very much needed.

72 minGOAL! Arsenal 0-1 Blackburn (Kazim-Richards)

74 minWow! What an earth has just happened!? Arsenal introduce their big trio of players and seconds later they are behind. Szczesny can only push clear Olsson's shot to Kazim-Richards, who volleys the rebound into the ground. Time seems to stand still, but the ball eventually bounces into the net via the post. We have a big shock on our hands now.

76 minKeown, again on BBC Sport, talking about the Blackburn goal:

"We talked about Colin Kazim-Richards being a decent player. It was a scruffy finish, but he keeps himself solid and tucks in at the back post. It is a stunning goal because Arsenal have dominated but Wojciech Szczesny should have done better, he palmed the Martin Olsson shot straight to Kazim-Richards."


79 minDefending is the name of the game now for Blackburn. Arsenal are pushing forward in numbers. It's a bit like a training match. Can the Championship side hold out? You know there is going to be a chance or two before the final whistle.

83 minSUBSTITUTION: Another switch for Blackburn as Rhodes is replaced by David Goodwillie. One Scot for another. Michael Appleton will be looking for Goodwillie to provide some energy in the final third.

84 minArsenal fan and golfer Ian Poulter on Twitter: "This is actually embarrassing. Arsenal you are a disgrace. 10 minutes until I do something constructive and practice. Arsenal = Joke."

87 minSAVE! The angle was against Diaby but he still drilled in a powerful shot with his right foot. Kean in the Blackburn goal stood firm though and pushed the ball clear with both hands. The Arsenal faithful are getting extremely frustrated now.

89 minSAVE! Kean is becoming a bit of a hero for Blackburn! Wilshere crosses from the left for Walcott, who powers a header towards goal. It looks for all the world that the ball is going in, but Kean throws himself across his line to hold the England striker's effort.

90 minBlackburn have four minutes of stoppage time to survive...

90+2 minThis may be tempting fate, but Arsenal look out of ideas at the moment. The crowd are on the backs as passes keep going astray. There is still enough time for one more chance!

90+3 minCHANCE! That could be Arsenal's last chance. Giroud's volley is blocked by Grant Hanley but the ball breaks to Arteta to the right of the goal. The target is at his mercy, but he can only find the netting. It's a bad miss from the Spaniard.

90+4 minFULL TIME: Arsenal 0-1 Blackburn

4.53pmThat is amazing! Nobody gave Blackburn a hope before this game and yet they are the side that advances through. You can't begrudge them that either. They defended very well and when the chance presented itself, they took it.

4.55pmFrom an Arsenal point of view, another trophy chance has bitten the dust. A large number of jeers rung out around the Emirates when the final whistle sounded. They controlled the game, but rarely forced Jake Kean to make a full-stretch save. It makes you wonder how much longer Wenger has in charge at the Gunners.

4.56pmThat's all we have time for from North London. Thanks for joining us today and be sure to stay tuned with Sports Mole for more football from at home and abroad.

The Emirates Stadium
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