We will be ready for Bayern test – Wenger
ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger has challenged his team to ignore people writing them off as no-hopers and show their true character against European giants Bayern Munich tomorrow night.
The Gunners' campaign suffered another setback after crashing out of the FA Cup 1-0 to Blackburn.
Although they dominated the Championship team at the Emirates Stadium, they were knocked out by a scrappy second-half goal from former Arsenal trainee Colin Kazim-Richards.
Despite criticism of his team selection – which saw Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla all start on the bench – Wenger insists how his men now respond will go on to define the outcome of what has been one of the most testing seasons of his time in charge.
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"You can take what people say and show how strong and good you are in the next game," said Wenger, who suffered defeat against lower league opposition in the FA Cup for the first time.
"It is a good opportunity to show that we have character and are men who can fight for each other."
Arsenal were also knocked out of the Capital One Cup in a match they had been expected to win when losing at League One Bradford on penalties in December.
Wenger, though, maintains he had not taken Saturday's clash lightly, despite what lay ahead in Europe next week.
"It is very disappointing that the two (cup defeats) have happened in the same season, but I prepared for those two in the same way that I did in the 16 years before," he said.
"I couldn't see how we could lose this game because we always had the ball and they had one shot on goal, but they defended well.
"It was the kind of game you can lose if you make a mistake at the back and that's what we did. We gave them the game, basically."
Yet even with all of Arsenal's changes, there was still enough quality on the pitch to have seen off the challenge of Rovers, who are battling to get themselves back into the top flight under Michael Appleton.
Abou Diaby's goalbound header was saved by Rovers goalkeeper Jake Kean before, in what proved the match's pivotal moment, Ivory Coast forward Gervinho – making his first appearance after the African Nations Cup – rolled the ball wide of the post when put clear into the penalty area.
Czech winger Tomas Rosicky saw his 25-yard effort come back off the crossbar before Wenger made a treble substitution in an attempt to spark new life into the tie.
However, moments after the change, Rovers snatched the lead after 72 minutes when goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny parried Martin Olsson's shot back to Kazim-Richards, whose rebound effort bounced up off the ground, onto the post and in.