[T]onight, Watford travel to Leicester City at the onset of a nail biting weekend of Football League fixtures. With a great many issues still hanging in the balance, our two founding bloggers, Lloyd and Lanterne Rouge convened to discuss the prospects: ... Lanterne Rouge: As a Plymouth fan, you've mentioned to me that you are still worried about the drop - it's quite possible mathematically but will take a chain reaction of perhaps sub-nuclear proportions for Argyle to go down to the Football League.
[T]oday, we're very happy to welcome back Chris Walker, known as @onedavebamber to his twitter followers, and curator of the excellent blog Up The Pool. Here, Chris looks back on a flat campaign for Blackpool Football Club. ... As the season draws to a close, there must be many in the wider footballing world wondering just what has happened at Blackpool.
[G]oing forward, we have decided to terminate the employment of Michael Appleton. The board convened earlier today and the takeaway from our roundtable discussions resulted in the departure of Mr. Appleton from Blackburn Rovers Football Club. We decided to touch base about this offline in order to action this because The Economist says that businesses need to be lean and robust and capable of dealing with the fast paced business environment of today.
[Y]esterday evening, as Arsenal were battling bravely to overturn a Champions League deficit in Munich, ESPN viewers and a few gross hardy souls at Ewood Park saw Blackburn Rovers tumble out of the FA Cup. Here, Phil Lloyd scratches his head in befuddlement as to the Lancashire club's plight. Phil can be followed on twitter here.
[S]ome nine years have passed since the last peak in the endlessly repeating cycle of Millwall boom-and-bust. Of course, we didn't realise that was what we were watching at the time. At least, I – still a hopeful undergraduate at the time – didn't realise. A team containing genuine top-flight talent had reached the FA Cup Final for the first time in the club's 118-year history, while an attempt on the Championship play-offs had only faltered once the glint of a Cup runners-up medal caught the players' eyes.
Chelsea's Juan Mata (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
The FA Cup returns this weekend for the quarter finals, and there's no shortage of big clubs looking to cement their names on football's longest serving knock-out competition.
The magic of the FA Cup was on show once again last round; Championship side Blackburn overcame a lacklustre Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium potentially stretching the London club to a trophy drought of eight interminable years.
It's incredible to believe, but Robert Lewandowski would have signed for Blackburn Rovers in 2010 if it wasn't for an Icelandic volcanic ash cloud that ruined the plans.
Robert Lewandowski was playing for Polish side Lech Poznan in 2010. He was due to fly into the country to meet with Blackburn representatives to discuss a transfer, but due to the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud, all flights were canceled.
A distraught Michael Appleton on hearing that he's been fired
Those crazy Venky's boys have been at it again, with poor old Michael Appleton in the firing line this time.
The 37-year-old, whop left Blackpool to take over at Ewood Park on January 11th, has been given his marching orders after a poor run of form which has seen Rovers go six league games without a win, a winless streak which has left them just four points clear of the drop-zone.
Remember this guy? From the "Streets of Philadelphia" video?
It's fair to say that Gael Givet is currently out of favour at Blackburn, what with thehirsute defender playing but one match since Christmas.
By his own admission, Givet has been struggling to keep his pecker up since Rovers were relegated from the top table last season and the fact that he's only played nine minutes under new manager Michael Appleton has only worsened his mood with the bearded centre-half quipping thathe'd have topped himself by now if his family weren't with him in Lancashire.
In my weekly column on SWOL, I take a look back at the weekend's English Premier League and domestic cup action and the talking points that it throws up, as well as any significant news related to English football at large.
Follow me @theredarmchair for regular updates throughout the week.
Mikel Arteta has been a mainstay of Arsenal's midfield for the last two seasons, but is angry that the team keeps losing easy games and now have a fight on their hands to try and end up in the Champions League next year, which Arteta thinks is "unacceptable" for a club of Arsenal's stature.
He thinks that, especially if Arsenal fail to make the Top Four, the Board simply must use some of their massive profits to improve the Gunners squad for an assault on the title next season.
Arsenal have been a strange creature in recent months. Putting five goals away against West Ham and Reading, seven goals against Newcastle, but then struggling to beat Villa, Stoke and Southampton. Not to mention getting beat 1-0 by Blackburn in the cup and being pretty much knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern.
You can say what you like about Arsene Wenger, and he has certainly come under a lot more criticism this season than ever before, but there is no doubt that he inspires the respect, admiration and gratitude of his Arsenal players. Just last week we saw Jack Wilshere give an emotional post match interview in which you could tell that he was hurt by how much the pressure that Wenger was under and insisted that it was the players that should bear the responsibility for the bad performances and results.
Mikel Arteta was sitting next to his boss when Arsene Wenger reacted angrily to questions from reporters in the press conference before Arsenal took on Bayern Munich last week. It is safe to say that the media have milked that outburst for all it is worth, and their main line of questioning to Wenger or any of the Arsenal players now seems to be, whose fault is the current situation.
When the Arsenal fans saw that Aaron Ramsey was in the starting 11 to face Bayern Munich on Tuesday, I am sure there was a lot of groaning, tutting and shaking of heads, but the young Welshman was actually one of the better players for the Gunners. After some shaky performances earlier in the season, the 22-year old has improved and is no longer the scapegoat for every bad result that Arsenal suffer.
Tras la sorprendente eliminación ante el Blackburn en la segunda ronda de FA Cup, el Arsenal recibe este martes 18 de febrero a un Bayern de Múnich que domina la Bundesliga.
Los ‘Gunners', quintos clasificados en la Premier League, fueron abucheados por su propia afición tras la inesperada derrota ante el Blackburn Rovers, lo que significó su segunda eliminación copera de la temporada, puesto que también se quedarón fuera de la League Cup tras perder en los cuartos de final ante el Bradford.
The hours that have followed the Blackburn defeat have not been much fun. Recriminations have been fast and fierce, arguments have erupted all over the place and certain segments of the press corp are swirling like vultures around a wounded animal. Players are aware that they have let themselves and the club down, the manager is coming under fire and fans are turning on each other.
Arsene Wenger has already acknowledged that Arsenal did not play well enough on Saturday. He has not taken refuge in bemoaning his luck, despite the fact that the Gunners dominated the game throughout and fell victim to a flukey goal that was one of only two attempts on target by Blackburn Rovers.
Arsenal's infamous trophy drought grew closer to the dreaded eight seasons mark on Saturday. One of the Gunners' last and perhaps their best chances to win a championship this season ended with a 1-0 home loss to Blackburn Rovers.
In a FA Cup competition filled with upsets through the first few rounds, this weekend's Fifth Round action had only one shock result.
The Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen, and the man the fans believe is the captain-in-waiting Jack Wilshere have been talking about the possibilities of the Gunners in the Champions league. With tomorrow's opponents Bayern Munich looking imperious in the German Bundesliga, not many journalists give Arsenal much hope of progressing to the next stage of the competition nevermind winning it, but Vermaelen and Wilshere are daring to dream.
It's quite strange to witness the evolution of Philippe Coutinho from the youth ranks of Vasco de Gama to his defining move to Inter (throw in a loan spell with Espanyol) and now, Liverpool. It's almost like watching evolution of the 21st century footballer, if you will!
Anger, ashamed and bitter disappointment. Those were my feelings immediately after the match. While I was preoccupied yesterday that didn't allow me to write the review earlier, in a way, I was giving myself time to see if I can muster any sort of positivity.
I had, by accident, scheduled to have my cable replaced during the game yesterday. This meant I missed about a third of the game, for which I should probably be grateful. This was another season-defining moment, in a season that has largely been defined in terms of absolutely dreadful results. Thoughts as follows:
* The team selection was fine, other than Coquelin starting at right-back.
Even though Man Utd and Reading don't play out their fifth round tie until Monday evening, enough of the games are sufficiently decided for the draw for the next round to take place in the honoured presence of some football people. In terms of teams still left, we can now right off Arsenal, who lost to Blackburn on Saturday.
I wrote an article before the Arsenal defeat by Blackburn yesterday, calling for the inclusion of the Ivorian forward Gervinho in the team. My argument was that it was the ideal time for him to get his floundering Arsenal career back on track, and I still think it was. His confidence had been boosted by good performances and goals at the African Cup of Nations, and a home game against lower league opposition should have given him a great chance to show off his skills.
I know you all might be in shock after losing to the championship side Blackburn Rovers. I don't want to add to your grief but please do read this article. We can't completely blame Mr. Wenger. He was the one who brought up so many talented players to the world, whether it be Van Persie, Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song and so on.
So we got knocked out of the FA Cup and the League Cup (does anyone really care about that League Cup?). We are still in the Champions League. Also everyone is saying we are gonna get flogged by Bayern? Really? Is football sooo predictable?
Adam Kemp – Time to say goodbye to Arsene Wenger after another unbelievable result!
Arsenal has not won a single piece of silverware under Wenger since 2005 and the trophy drought will almost certainly continue. Arsene Wenger cannot look at this result as a one off as we have been dumped out of two cups by lower league opposition.
It's hard to know where to begin this morning. Going out of a cup competition to lower league opposition once in a season is bad enough, but yesterday saw the same thing happen again and it makes you think it's something far beyond just a horrible coincidence.
Arsene Wenger started off a massive ten days for Arsenal by seeing his side dumped out of the FA Cup by Championship side Blackburn Rovers. As usual the Gunners completely dominated possession without putting the ball in the back of the net, while Blackburn sneaked a freak winning goal towards the end of the game.
Wenger did the right thing by resting key players for this game. Indeed most of us praised the lineup when it was announced we were simply unlucky. However, Podolski, Walcott, Cazorla and Wilshere are our most potent players and at least one of them should have started. It is a very disheartening result going into the week where we face Bayern Munich.
It looked like being another Blackburn, although we did not deserve to go behind, the domination in the first half had not been converted into clear cut chances and goals, albeit we did have two decent half chances which were narrowly missed by Giroud and Gervinho. Norwich were pretty well organised on the whole and then took the lead completely against the run of play mid way through the
Not to be outdone by the marten that ran riot and bit a Zurich player during a Swiss Super League match last weekend, the chickens of Blackburn once again conspired to invade the pitch at Ewood Park. Though it probably wasn't the same chicken that invaded the pitch during Blackburn's match against Wigan last season as part of ongoing protests against the club's hated poultry magnate owners, a cockerel wearing a similar small flag as a cape stepped onto the edge of the pitch during their match against rivals Burnley on Sunday.
Simon Vukcevic, um dos jogadores mais talentosos que, em minha opinião, nas últimas épocas passou pelo Sporting (embora com cabeça fraca), acaba de assinar contrato com o Karpaty Lviv, actual 14º e antepenúltimo classificado do campeonato da Ucrânia. Aos 27 anos, o montenegrino, que rescindiu recentemente com o Blackburn Rovers, onde não era opção regular, procura relançar a carreira no clube que, curiosamente, também tem o leão no seu símbolo.
Despite a first team bore draw this week at the Rovers, Twiggster has some excellent Leeds Ladies and U.18′s reports on this show!Those game reviews and a great fan at the game assessment from the draw at Blackburn are featured!Along with another excellent "Where has tha' Been.
Although, with Bayern looming, there's little time to dwell on Saturday's game, there's still fall-out and frank admissions from the manager and the captain about the team's approach and attitude don't make easy reading.
Maybe they still thought: 'OK, we're playing at home against Blackburn, it will be difficult but we will win the game anyway', but it doesn't work like that.