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Match Reports

Match Report : 16/02/2013

16 February 2013

Arsenal 0-1 Rovers

Blackburn Rovers pulled off one of the shocks of this season's FA Cup with a 1-0 win over Arsenal at the Emirates.

Colin Kazim-Richards' 72 minute strike was the difference between the two sides in a game of high drama.

Rovers had to defend resolutely throughout, Jake Kean denying Abou Diaby with a stunning first half save, Tomas Rosicky rattled the crossbar in the second.

Whilst chances were few, Rovers did make them, and when Martin Olsson saw his shot palmed away by Wojciech Szczesny, Colin Kazim-Richards pounced on the rebound to steer the ball in off the far post.

That sparked jubilant scenes amongst the visiting support but Rovers still had defending to do, Kean again saving well after substitutes Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott combined.

Four added minute were played when a ball across the box by Wilshere caused consternation but Mikel Arteta fired into the side netting as Rovers celebrated a famous win.

Michael Appleton made just the two changes from the side that drew 1-1 in Tuesday night's hard-fought encounter against Brighton & Hove Albion.

Captain Danny Murphy was rested for the Emirates trip meaning a debut for midfielder Lee Williamson. Also coming back into the starting eleven was Morten Gamst Pedersen as he replaced the cup-tied DJ Campbell.

Friday signings Karim Rekik and David Bentley both made the squad as they were named amongst the substitutes.

For the home side, with half an eye on next Tuesday's Champions League match with Bayern Munich, they made seven changes.

It was Rovers with the first chance at the Emirates with an effort at goal after just two minutes. A Morten Gamst Pedersen free-kick from the left skimmed off an Arsenal head towards the back post where Markus Olsson struck it first time but it flashed wide of goal.

It was a rare foray forward for the Rovers as Arsenal enjoyed a first half full of possession and pressure but ultimately goalless.

The home side had a host of corner kicks with Rovers having to defend resolutely, Abou Diaby getting a clear sight of goal from a 24th minute inswinger but Jake Kean saved superbly. Showing great reactions to tip the midfielder's header over the bar.

Another Morten Gamst Pedersen free-kick almost paid dividends minutes later, his flat delivery deceiving Diaby but Scott Dann couldn't direct his header on target.

Jake Kean had to scramble to claw the ball away from the line after Thomas Vermaelen and Bradley Orr went for a header, but with two minutes left of the first half the best chance for Arsenal came and went. Tomas Rosicky sending Gervinho clean through on goal but although his shot beat the advancing Kean it crept a yard wide.

Like the opening half Rovers were the team creating the chances at the beginning of the second, a 47th minute cross from Markus Olsson deflecting narrowly wide off Thomas Vermaelen as Jordan Rhodes prepared to pounce.

From the resulting Pedersen corner, Scott Dann headed back into the mix to where Jason Lowe headed goalwards but Mikel Arteta was there to head away from inside his own six-yard box.

Kean saved comfortable as Olivier Giroud headed at goal, whilst Diaby and Rosicky were well wide with long range strikes as the home side became increasingly anxious.

David Bentley was introduced on 64 minutes, the former midfielder getting a standing ovation from the 1400 Rovers fans.

But it was at the other end were play was centred the sight of Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott preparing to come on prompting Tomas Rosicky to slam an effort onto the crossbar.

That treble change was intended to give the home side a boost but a minute later they were stunned when it was Rovers who grabbed the all-important first goal.

A forward ball from Scott Dann was nodded down by Morten Gamst Pedersen towards Martin Olsson in space, the Swede advanced to shoot but whilst his effort was saved by Szczesny the ball ran to Colin Kazim-Richards and he fired into the ground and the ball bounced in off the far post. Kaz, a boyhood Arsenal fan, was mobbed as he celebrated in front of the travelling supporters.

There was still work to do as Arsenal came at Rovers with wave after wave of attack, but to a man the team defended resolutely, whilst the possession was squarely centred around the Rovers box, there weren't too many goalscoring opportunities as bodies were thrust on the line.

Jake Kean saved superbly to stop a Theo Walcott header as Wilshere's cross deflected into his path, then at the death a cross from the England man found Arteta at the back post, but when the Spaniard fired into the side-netting you knew it was going to be Rovers day.

After four minutes of added time Mike Dean blew the whistle to signal a first win for Emirates as Rovers' FA Cup campaign moves on to the last eight.

ARSENAL: Szczesny, Diaby, Vermaelen (c), Koscielny, Rosicky (sub Wilshere 71 mins), Arteta, Giroud, Oxlade-Chamberlain (sub Cazorla 71 mins), Monreal, Gervinho (sub Walcott 71 mins)

Subs not used: Mannone (GK), Sagna, Podolski, Ramsey. 

Goals: None.

Booked: Coquelin.

ROVERS: Kean, Orr, Dann (c), Hanley, Martin Olsson, Pedersen, Williamson, Lowe, Markus Olsson (sub Bentley 64 mins), Kazim-Richards, Rhodes (sub Goodwillie 83 mins).

Subs not used: Usai (GK), Givet, Fabio Nunes, Nuno Gomes, Rekik.

Goals: Kazim-Richards 72 mins.

Booked: Orr, Goodwillie.

Attendance: 60,070.

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