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.

Support your community by viewing your local businesses

Please wait

You will be able to read the article in 5 seconds

Thank you for supporting your local community

You may now read the article

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

12:14
Charlie Rice (right) in action against Pavel Senkovs. Pic: Philip Sharkey/TGSPHOTO

Islington light-welterweight Charlie Rice says he has rediscovered his love of boxing as he prepares to end a 10-month exile from the ring on Friday night.

Yesterday, 22:48
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger during the UEFA Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund.

Arsene Wenger says Arsenal must go all out for victory in their final Champions League group match despite already clinching qualification for the last 16.

Yesterday, 21:38
Arsenal's Yaya Sanogo scores his side's first goal against Borussia Dortmund

Yaya Sanogo grabbed his first competitive goal for Arsenal as they sealed their place in the Champions League knockout phase for the 12th year running with a 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund.

Yesterday, 18:05
Ryan McKinlay of Highgate Harriers. Pic: Dieter Perry

Ryan McKinlay roared to second place as a depleted Highgate Harriers side secured a top three finish in the North London Cross-Country Championships at Alexandra Park.

Most read sport

New responsibilities over income tax and welfare could be heading to Holyrood.

A man and woman in their 50s died in Fetcham, Surray.

1,000 people were asked to finish the sentence: “Jeremy Clarkson is…” and the results were somewhat hilarious.

Winds of 88mph (141kph) and mutant hailstones meant it certainly wasn’t barbecue weather.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the $m.global.archantvariables.NewspaperTitle e-edition today E-edition