Five positives for Arsenal to take from their defeat to Blackburn

Arsenal slumped out of the FA Cup this weekend, and it was a pretty miserable affair all round for supporters.

But are there any positives Arsenal fans can take from the loss?

The negatives are too many to mention, so you don't need tell us this piece is unbalanced, it's aim is a bit of escapism for Gooners to gee themselves up and be positive.

We've scratched our heads and tried to come up with a few, five in total. Let us know if we've helped you look on the bright side of life?

Defensive record

Nacho Monreal looks like a good signing for Arsenal, imagine what the score might have been against Blackburn had Andre Santos been playing at left-back? In fact, since the Spaniard's arrival, the Gunners have conceded just one goal in three games. Now it's unfortunate that goal this weekend cost them their FA Cup place, but had the forward line clicked as it did last season when Arsenal beat Blackburn 7-1, the goal conceded wouldn't have been an issue. Despite defensive personnel changes and injuries, ahead of the game with Bayern, Arsenal can at least take heart from the fact that at the back they are no longer leaking goals.

Concentrate on the league?

This one will be sure to stick in the throat of Arsenal fans, after Arsene Wenger's early season comment that the Gunners were fighting for a 'fourth place trophy'. Currently they are four points behind Spurs, less than at this stage last season, and will still fancy their chances of overhauling their rivals. While obviously the FA Cup was a winnable trophy and Arsenal should be disappointed to be out, they have to take the positives and realise that now they can focus on just the Champions League and Premier League, with the latter ensuring qualification for the former next season. In the long-term financially - it's a target which needs to be met.

Re-affirmation of problems

Sometimes what is needed is for things to get worse before they get better. It's obvious from their league position of fifth that this Arsenal team are a long way from where they aspire to be at the top of the table. Would an FA Cup win actually have changed that? Sure it would have given Wenger and the squad a confidence boost and relieved a lot of pressure on the squad, but getting knocked out of a cup competition by a lower league club for the second time this season, the first year it's ever happened under Wenger; help underline the frailties in the squad. It should strengthen the resolve of manager and board to ship out underperformers and bring in more established stars, rather than gloss over the fact investments is needed.

Key players rested

Yes Arsene Wenger made a gamble which backfired against Blackburn - But it could pay dividends in midweek against Bayern Munich. Lukas Podolski and Bacary Sagna were rested entirely, watching on from the bench, untarred by the defeat, with Per Mertesacker in the stands. Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Theo Walcott all came on with 20 minutes to go, and while they can be disappointed with their lack of impact, the fact remains they will be fresher for midweek than had they played the 90. While others who did start such as Gervinho, merely underlined they should not be considered for a start against the Germans.

A response may be around the corner

Remember the last time Arsenal lost to Blackburn? They were beaten 4-3 at Ewood Park in 2011 a fortnight after the 8-2 to United. The Gunners then went onto win nine of their next 10 league games. When they lost 4-0 to Milan last year and then got knocked out of the cup by Sunderland? They responded by thrashing Spurs 5-2 and beating Milan 3-0 in the return. How about when Arsenal lost to Bradford in the League Cup in December? They scored five in their next game against Reading, won away to Wigan and then struck seven past Newcastle. This shows that frequently when Arsenal suffer a bad defeat they bounce back, although not always quite immediately as last season's loss at Sunderland after the Milan game showed. Supporters should still believe that players and manager will be extra keen to make up for the loss and put in a shift to win the game on Tuesday night and have the ability to do so.

Feeling positive yet?

image: © wonker

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