Search

Pressure is off Arsenal in FA Cup final, says Gunners boss

12:38 15 May 2014

Arsenal

Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger. Picture: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire.

PA Wire

Arsene Wenger believes his side will go into Saturday’s FA Cup final with less pressure than they faced on their last Wembley appearance.

The Gunners had failed to win any of their four league games in the build-up to last month’s semi-final and looked unconvincing as they scraped past Wigan after a penalty shoot-out.

By contrast, Wenger and his team return to Wembley to face Hull City on the back of a five-match winning run – bidding to end their barren spell of nine years without a trophy.

While the Arsenal boss insists his side will not be complacent, he expects them to be more relaxed given their form and the fact that they are no longer battling to seal Champions League qualification.

“At the time [of the semi-final] we were at a lower level of confidence. We had come off some bad results and let’s not forget we played against a team who had beaten Manchester City away,” said Wenger.

“Now we’ve secured the minimum required in the Premier League and that takes the pressure off, but there’s a big desire to finish the season on a high.

“I don’t feel there’s any danger of complacency. Hull are a Premier League team, they can pass the ball and create chances and it’s down to us performing well on the day of the game.

“We know the difficulty of the task. If you look at our run in the FA Cup, we had a hard task – Tottenham, Liverpool and Everton – but we have done the job and we want to finish it now.

“Expectancy always brings pressure, but we played many games in the season with that tension and pressure and our experience of that will help us.

“To be favourites is one thing, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. Let’s just focus on turning up with a great performance and finishing the season well.”

Wenger refused to drop any hints about his team selection for Wembley, although club captain Thomas Vermaelen (knee) and midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin) remain major doubts.

Opinion is divided as to whether Lukasz Fabianski – who has played in every round of the FA Cup so far and also featured in Arsenal’s Premier League match at Norwich last Sunday – will retain his place in goal or make way for first choice Wojciech Szczesny.

Right-back Bacary Sagna, whose contract expires shortly, is expected to make his final appearance for the Gunners.

Latest Sport Stories

05:45
Theo Walcott of Arsenal celebrates (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he believes Theo Walcott has all the qualities to play as a central striker.

07:00
Hector Bellerin of Arsenal runs with the ball  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Hector Bellerin says he was sure he wanted to leave Barcelona for Arsenal as soon as he was aware of the Gunners’ interest.

06:30
Jack Wilshere shakes hands with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is looking to get the best out of Jack Wilshere after standing by the midfielder throughout his injury-hit career.

Thu, 21:04
Paul Stirling, Middlesex

Paul Stirling hit a swashbuckling 90 and James Franklin took five wickets as Middlesex crushed Kent by 115 runs for their first Twenty20 win of the season.

Most read sport

Competitions

Time to expand with the LeefiBRIDGE.

More iOS memory in a flash: Introducing Leef iBRIDGE.

The sell out 2014 event 32 Londoners, returns to the Coca-Cola London Eye!

The Coca-Cola London Eye is proud to announce that 32 Londoners will be returning this June, following last year’s sell out event. The event will feature 32 talks, in each of the London Eye’s 32 capsules on 32 extraordinary Londoners.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Islington Gazette e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24


Our trusted business finder