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Wenger's downfall? Fans wants Arsenal boss to resign

Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger looks on during their FA Cup fifth round soccer match against Blackburn Rovers in the Emirates stadium in London February 16, 2013. (REUTERS)

By Reuters

Arsenal were booed off the pitch after a second humiliation in two months against lower league opponents when visitors Blackburn Rovers beat them 1-0 in the FA Cup fifth round with a late Colin Kazim-Richards goal on Saturday.

Manager Arsene Wenger's gamble of leaving out a batch of first-team regulars against the Championship (second tier) side backfired as Arsenal fan Kazim-Richards struck a 72nd minute winner to send Rovers into the quarter-finals.

With Arsenal 21 points off the Premier League pace in fifth, a poor result at home to Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich in their Champions League last 16, first leg on Tuesday would virtually guarantee an eighth straight trophy-less campaign. 

With disgruntled Arsenal fans already heading for the exits, one shouting "You disrespect the Cup Wenger", the Gunners bombarded Rovers' goal but the visitors stood firm.

Wenger said his team selection was no excuse for the club's first loss to lower league opponents in the FA Cup since he took over in 1996.

"We had 11 internationals on the pitch at the start and when we made the changes it was 0-0," said the Frenchman. "We had a lot of the ball and they defended well. But we made a massive mistake on the goal."

Despite 26 goal attempts, Arsenal can hardly count themselves unlucky as, apart from the final 15 minutes, their was a lack of urgency about their display.

Blackburn, relegated from the Premier League last season, had one early chance when Marcus Olsson shot across goal but it was mainly Arsenal possession without any cutting edge.

Rovers' Jake Kean made one flying save to keep out a header from Abou Diaby and Gervinho wasted a great opportunity just before halftime, pulling his shot wide after being sent clear by  Rosicky, as Arsenal failed to make the most of their chances.

"It's important now to focus on the next game and it's an opportunity to show we have character and that we are men who fight for each other," Wenger added.

Wenger took an age to face the media after the game and looked ashen-faced as he tried to explain the defeat.

"Of course it is disappointing," he said. "It is very difficult to accept but it happened - we had enough chances to win but we didn't.

"Offensively we lacked ruthlessness and calm in front of goal. We didn't make enough of our corners.

"If you look at the Premier League teams who went out against lower-league sides you will see it happened to many of them," added Wenger.

"We were not good enough to win the game, it is as simple as that. Not one defeat is acceptable - you are in this job to win every single game."

Wenger, whose last trophy for Arsenal was the FA Cup in 2005, had never lost to lower-division opposition in the competition but refused to accept he had taken Blackburn, relegated from the top flight last season, lightly.

"I can understand the fans are not happy when the team loses to Blackburn at home.

"It is very painful and very disappointing to lose a game like that. What is important now is to focus on the next one."