12 February 2013

Blackburn vs. Brighton: Prelude to an FA Cup-tie

Tuesday's match between Blackburn and Brighton should be interesting in that it gives us one last look at Blackburn ahead of Saturday's 5th round FA Cup match. We met and beat Brighton in the 4th round of the FA, thanks to a late goal from Theo Walcott (see vid with thanks to arsenalist).

Blackburn has been on a bit of a run lately, having three wins, two draws, and a loss coming into the match against Brighton. They're on their third manager of the year in Michael Appleton, who seems to have righted the ship somewhat since a very shaky start. Of particular note would be their striker Jordan Rhodes, who has scored 19 goals in all competitions this year, which includes a streak of seven six consecutive games with a goal (broken in last weekend's against Ipswich when replays changed his goal to an own-goal against the Ipswich keeper). Last year's January transfer window had him going to Spurs, Everton, or Newcastle (before we scoff, Newcastle was in the thick of things last year) when he had 29 goals in 33 games for Huddersfield. Simply put, he seems to have a nose for goal. Replicating that success on Saturday is an open question but not one to take lightly given our recent encounters with the likes of Bradford and Brighton.

Overall, Arsenal has won 58 of 119 matches against Blackburn with the two sharing 31 draws (leaving 30 wins to Blackburn for those of you slow on the math). The two met twice last year, one a 3-4 loss at Ewood that included own goals from Koscielny and some guy named Song and that left us in 15th place after five games, and the other a 7-1 thumping at the Emirates that put us in 5th place after 24 games, two points behind Chelsea.

As of this writing, it's Blackburn 1-0 at halftime thanks to a goal from defender Scott Dann. Once highlights are available (for some reason, American cable just doesn't cover second-tier British soccer), I'll skim through 'em to see if there's any meaningful previews beyond what can be gleaned from various youtube clips  in which Mr. Rhodes scores goals set to insipidly inspirational music.

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