Final will be different – Wenger








20 April 2014
Last updated at
18:37













Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes

his side’s 3-0 Premier League win at Hull

will have no bearing when they face each other again in the FA Cup final on 17 May.

Lukas Podolski scored twice after Aaron Ramsey’s goal as the Gunners strolled to victory at the KC Stadium.

“The Cup final is a completely different game,” Wenger insisted.

Arsenal won the

1998

and

2003 FA Cups

shortly after league wins over final opponents Newcastle and Southampton.

However, Manchester City

suffered a surprise defeat against Wigan in last season’s Wembley showpiece

in the weeks after beating them in the league.

Midfielder Ramsey, who played for Cardiff when

they were beaten by Portsmouth in the 2008 final,

echoed the words of his manager.

“We have beaten Hull twice but are not going to take them lightly,” he said.

“They are a well-organised team, get crosses in and we can’t rely on our previous performances against them.”

Hull will be without strikers Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long for the final, as both are cup-tied. Jelavic played for Everton earlier in the competition, Long for West Brom.

Manager Steve Bruce said that it left him with a decision to make on possible replacements Yannick Sagbo, Sone Aluko and Matty Fryatt.

“We always knew that and we have got through to the cup final without them,” he added.

“There is no doubt that they gave us something extra at the top end of the pitch so we will have to find a way to work without them.”







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Wilshere fit for World Cup – Wenger








20 April 2014
Last updated at
10:28













Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has told England boss Roy Hodgson that Jack Wilshere will be fit for the World Cup, which starts on 12 June.

Wilshere, 22, has been sidelined since suffering

a hairline fracture

in his foot playing for England on 5 March.

Hodgson names a provisional 30-man World Cup squad on 13 May and Wenger said: “I told him that Wilshere will be available. He will be just polished.

“He is starting to jog this week. I would think two to three weeks.”

That recovery period would also put Wilshere in contention for the FA Cup final on 17 May, when Arsenal face Hull.

The combative midfielder became Arsenal’s youngest league debutant when he came on as a substitute against Blackburn in September 2008 but has had some serious injuries since.

He sustained a

stress fracture

of his right ankle that ruled him out for 17 months and forced him to miss Euro 2012.

Last term Wilshere had

further ankle problems

and

needed surgery

at the end of the campaign, which caused him to miss England’s close-season friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil.

“Jack has been in and out this year, but I think they have sorted out the problem now,” Wenger said. “I hope from now on he will always be available.”

“England have a very difficult group. They have Italy and Uruguay in the group and they have to get out of it. Jack can be the positive surprise.”







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Wenger hoping for Everton slip-up








15 April 2014
Last updated at
23:31













Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says he is still hoping for a slip-up from Everton in the battle for a Champions League spot.

Wenger saw his side regain fourth place with an impressive

3-1 win over West Ham

at the Emirates Stadium.

But he knows the outcome is not in the Gunners’ hands as Everton are just a point behind with a game in hand.

“We know we have to win our games and hope Everton slip up,” he said. “Let’s concentrate on our job.”

Wenger was delighted with his side’s performance in coming from behind to beat the Hammers just three days after knocking out holders Wigan to reach the FA Cup final.

“Tonight and Saturday has improved the confidence of the team,” he said. “We have compulsory games that we need to win in front of us. It’s possible [to finish fourth] if we win all of our games.”

Everton will move back into the top four if they

draw with or beat Crystal Palace on Wednesday

and manager
Roberto Martinez

says his team are relaxed going into the last five games.

“There is no pressure on us. We have nothing to lose. I think the pressure comes when you have something to lose. We are in a position where we have everything to gain,” he said.

“We have already gained the club’s highest points tally in Premier League history and that is an achievement.”

When Martinez was being unveiled as Everton manager last June, chairman Bill Kenwright revealed that the former Wigan boss

had promised to lead the club to the Champions League.

On Tuesday, Martinez said: “It was a little bit too early to say we would be challenging because I hadn’t even told my players about the vision, so I didn’t know how the players were going to react to this.

“I expected to be the one to slowly unfold the plans, not just give it on the first day, and my worry was how the group would react. It would have helped if he’d allowed me to say it to the players first.

“I didn’t say anything, because I have great respect for the chairman. When you meet him you realise his life is Everton and he has a genuine love for the football club.”







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Wenger admits top-four complacency








14 April 2014
Last updated at
23:04













Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has said his team may have been guilty of taking their place in next season’s Champions League for granted.

The Gunners have slid to fifth in the table, two points behind fourth-placed Everton going into

their game with West Ham at Emirates Stadium

on Tuesday.

“Maybe yes, we felt ‘that is done’,” said Wenger when asked if the squad had assumed they would make the top four.

Wenger added it was “vital” his side reached the Champions League.

Arsenal, who have played in the Champions League for 16 consecutive seasons, set the early pace in the title race and were leading the table as recently as 20 January.

But a disappointing run, featuring heavy defeats by Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton, has left the Gunners in a battle to qualify for Europe’s top club competition.

“We have had a difficult schedule [this season] and the weight of a negative result, the mental aspect of a negative result in a big game, is massive,” added Wenger.

“To deal with that is very difficult and when you have a succession of big games one after the other, if you lose the first one you are always in trouble.”


Arsenal beat Wigan 4-2 on penalties on Saturday

to reach the FA Cup final, increasing the prospect of ending their nine-year trophy drought.

Wenger has often been criticised for prioritising a top-four finish over winning a trophy, and once again he was at pains to emphasise the importance of competing with Europe’s best sides.

“For many years I was sitting here and had to convince you that it was important that we were in the top four – now it is in a reverse position, you say to me ‘you realise how important it is for us’.

“It is vital to me to do it. I want this club to play in the top-level competition, and for that you want to be in the Champions League.

“The pain of not having it? I would like them [the players] rather to concentrate on the pleasure to be in it.

“It is vital for the young players as well. You learn more by playing against Bayern or Barcelona or Real Madrid than if you play in the Europa League, that is for sure.”

Wenger admitted having another important game so soon after the gruelling 120 minutes at Wembley was “not welcome”, but said he believed the victory could lift his players.

“If we had gone out [of the FA Cup], it would really have been terrible. The fact that we come out in a positive mood will help us to recover. I believe physically we can cope with it,” he said.







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