Arsenal latest: Including Blackburn team news, 'secret agent', and Bale snub

NZonzi, Arteta, Rochina

All the latest Arsenal news and views from the past 24 hours.

Arsenal are preparing for their FA Cup tie with Blackburn tomorrow 'like a cup final', according to Arsene Wenger, as the Gunners are determined to avoid a slip up and keep in the race to win silverware this season, the competition being their most realistic hope. The game kicks off at 3pm at the Emirates tomorrow (Saturday), but we have asked whether their one eye on Bayern Munich in midweek could cost them.

Tottenham have dispatched a 'secret agent' to try and knock Arsenal out of the cup tomorrow, and it's former Gunner - David Bentley. The midfielder has been loaned to Blackburn Rovers and it has been confirmed the move went ahead in time to ensure he is eligible for selection tomorrow.

In Arsenal team news, Arsene Wenger says he will not risk Jack Wilshere's fitness tomorrow, with important games on the horizon after the midfielder picked up a knock against Sunderland. Wenger described Wilshere and Koscielny as both 50-50, while providing more positive news with regard to captain Thomas Vermaelen's ankle injury, stating the Belgian was 90-10 to feature.

Wenger also stated that Kieran Gibbs has a 'small chance' of being fit to play in the second leg against Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.

Arsene Wenger has praised Bacary Sagna's performance at centre-back last season, insisting he always knew the right-back could play in the position, revealing the Frenchman was only notified he would play there against Sunderland 10 minutes before kick-off.

Abou Diaby says the Gunners need to 'show character' like they did against Sunderland for the rest of the season if they are to achieve their objectives, and wants the team to build on the victory.

After Arsenal were linked with Sebastian Rode of Eintracht Frankfurt yesterday, we have taken a closer look at the defensive midfielder - including his penchant for mountain biking. We have also examined Arsenal's home record this year and since moving to the Emirates, asking whether it is improving - or getting worse?

Arsene Wenger has 'cooled' comparisons between Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo, insisting the Welshman must not get ahead of himself - but also revealing he considered signing the Welshman when he was at Southampton in a double deal with Theo Walcott.

And finally, with January transfer targets Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and David Villa both being hospitalised with illness, we have asked whether there is some sort of curse being inflicted by a higher power who supports the Gunners. Wenger today said in his press conference he was tracking David Villa,  but has more 'immediate' transfer targets, hinting the Spaniard is not a priority in the summer.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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