FA Cup Tips & Predictions: Arsenal vs. Blackburn

Steven Suarez

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 4:35 PM GMT

Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 4:35 PM GMT

We're already into Round 5 of the FA Cup, with plenty of big boys still left in the competition. The Gunners are one of those and they'll be playing host to Blackburn for Saturday's cup tie.


Odds Overview
 

As you'd expect, the FA Cup betting odds have Arsenal favored by a massive margin for this weekend's encounter. They're trading at 4/17 as of now, with a Blackburn at 8/1 and a draw at roughly 4/1.

Arsenal

Since back-to-back losses to Manchester City (at home) and Chelsea (away), the Gunners have gotten back on track by going unbeaten over their last four Premier League matches.

They thumped West Ham 5-1 and tied Liverpool 1-1 at the Emirates and then overcame both Stoke City and Sunderland with 1-0 wins. The Stadium of Light was rocking for Arsenal's visit, but Arsene Wenger's boys held their nerve defensively, even with Carl Jenkinson getting shown a red card. Santi Cazorla netted the winner.

This run of good results has the Gunners just four points behind Tottenham for the fourth spot in the league table. They've two up on Everton now and have built up a cushion over the likes of Swansea City, West Brom and Liverpool as well.

Putting forth a good showing in cup competitions is always important though, so Arsenal must be focused at the task of hand, despite the fact Blackburn are now in the league below.

Luckily for Wenger, his Gunners are really starting to click at the right time. Theo Walcott has been scoring goals left and right lately, while Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski have proven to be great signings in the huge void that the departure of Robin Van Persie has left.

Blackburn

It's always difficult to hold on to your top players when you get relegated, as Rovers found out this past summer. Along with their demotion came departures from the likes of Yakubu Aiyegbeni, David Hoilett, Mauro Formica and Christopher Samba.

That's an awful lot of quality to try and replace. Blackburn has tried to fill in the missing pieces as best they could, bringing Danny Murphy, DJ Campbell and Colin Kazim-Richards on board, and all three have become mainstays in the starting XI.

That said, they find themselves in eighth place in the Championship right now, and you would think a team that was just in the top flight last year would be able to be right there at the top of the pile.

Recent results have been encouraging though. Rovers have gone undefeated in four straight, which includes a hard-fought point earned away to a good Brighton side on Tuesday. It was Scott Dann that put Blackburn ahead with what was his first league goal of the campaign.

The emergence of Jordan Rhodes has also been rather spectacular. Signed from League One Huddersfield Town, 23-year old has taken the Championship by storm, scoring 19 goals in 27 appearances. We'll see what kind of impact he can make this weekend against one of England's top-tier teams.

FA Cup Pick 

When Arsenal and Blackburn battled it out in league action last season, goals were the name of the game. In the first meeting, at Ewood Park, Rovers actually won 4-3, but then the Gunners returned the favor in a big way, scoring seven times in a 7-1 annihilation.

There's been a host of personnel changes on both sides since then, with Blackburn losing a number of important players and RVP now in Manchester, so we need not get carried away by those past results.

What we are focused on when making our FA Cup tips and predictions: Arsenal has had a full week of training to prepare for this one, while the visitors were involved in a physically grueling match during the week. That should certainly play into the Gunners' favor.

Perhaps Blackburn will be able to muster up a goal, but in the end we have to think Arsenal, a team with far more quality and one that will be enjoying their soccer in front of their home fans, will stroll to a rather easy win this weekend.

FA Cup Picks & Predictions: Arsenal 3 Blackburn 1

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