• Wed
  • Aug 27, 2014
  • Updated: 7:24pm
SportSoccer

Arsenal focused on Blackburn with Bayern on the horizon

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 February, 2013, 5:09am

Per Mertesacker insists Arsenal will focus on Blackburn in the FA Cup today, just 72 hours before German giants Bayern Munich arrive in north London for a last-16 Champions League first-leg clash.

Arsene Wenger's side are targeting a first trophy since they won the FA Cup in 2005 and the meeting with second-tier Rovers coincides with an improved run of form that has revived their bid for a top-four finish in the Premier League.

But Mertesacker, the Arsenal centre-back, has warned his teammates they cannot allow their focus to be distracted if they want to progress in the domestic competition.

"We still have an important cup game on Saturday first. We absolutely want to advance in the FA Cup, that is why the preparations for Bayern are not that intense yet," said the Germany international.

"However, beginning on Sunday the preparations for Tuesday's match will be extreme. Bayern are doing superb this year and that is a big challenge for us, but we are looking forward to both legs."

The prospect of facing Bayern means Arsenal boss Wenger is expected to make changes for a cup tie with a Blackburn outfit who have pulled together and made great strides since Michael Appleton succeeded Henning Berg as manager.

Jack Wilshere (thigh) and Laurent Koscielny (calf) are struggling for full fitness while Thomas Vermaelen is likely to be on the bench.

"Wilshere [was] having tests on Thursday and Friday," Wenger said. "He is looking better. He is still a doubt for Saturday. He's got a kick on the thigh.

"Koscielny is a problem," the Frenchman added. "He has a tests exactly like Wilshere.

"Vermaelen is looking quite good and is possibly back for Saturday. He should be in the squad."

Midfielder Abou Diaby is available but right back Carl Jenkinson is suspended following his dismissal in last weekend's victory at Sunderland.

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or