Wenger wants FA Cup win fillip

Arsene Wenger has challenged Arsenal to set themselves up for two crunch games by knocking Swansea out of the FA Cup.

Last Updated: 05/01/13 at 13:54 Post Comment

Arsenal: Cup tie at the Liberty

Arsenal: Cup tie at the Liberty

Arsene Wenger has challenged his Arsenal team to set themselves up for two crunch league fixtures by knocking Swansea out of the FA Cup.

The Gunners will be looking to maintain momentum when they travel to Wales on Sunday from a five-match unbeaten run which has taken them back to within striking distance of the top four - a gap which could have been closer had they not laboured to a frustrating 1-1 draw at Southampton on New Year's Day.

Champions Manchester City come to Emirates Stadium in a week's time, which is followed up by a trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea and both games are set to fully test the character of Wenger's side.

"The best way to prepare for our games against Manchester City and Chelsea is to come out on top against Swansea, which will be a difficult tie," Wenger told Arsenal Player.

"The FA Cup is always important, but we are on a good run overall and we want to keep that going."

Wenger added: "It (the Premier League) is tight, every game is massive which is why consistency is so important.

"All the teams are difficult to beat and if you are not completely at your best, it does not work."

Wenger will always retain a special relationship with the FA Cup, having won it four times between 1998 and 2005, as well as defending a record of never losing in a third-round tie.

However, given the Gunners shock Capital One Cup exit at npower League Two Bradford, the world's oldest knockout competition now takes on extra significance in the quest to end their trophy drought.

Wenger, though, will take the same approach to every other match as he looks to deliver a positive result against the team which beat his side 2-0 in the league at Emirates Stadium on December 1.

"People try always to create pressure around every game, but that is part of our job. We want to just win our next game," he said.

"We are on a good run and I hope that Swansea will face a different Arsenal this time."

Wenger has been impressed by Swansea's continuity under new manager Michael Laudrup, with Spanish striker Michu having impressed with a late double at Emirates Stadium.

He said: "Swansea have done excellent work, with good technical players and which suit the way they want to play.

"All of their buys have been intelligent buys."

Wenger is himself on the lookout for some reinforcements during the January transfer window.

After freeing up a striker slot following the loan of Morocco misfit Marouane Chamakh to West Ham, the Gunners could move for some attacking cover, especially given Gervinho is set for the African Nations Cup.

Arsenal are reported to tracking both Atletico Madrid's Adrian Lopez and veteran Barcelona forward David Villa.

Wenger, meanwhile, hinted he could yet resurrect a loan move for former captain Thierry Henry during the Major League Soccer closed-season - although any imminent short-term deal with New York Red Bulls appears unlikely.

"At the moment it is definitely (off), but if we have big injuries and Thierry wants to do it... (however) we have not gone as far (as that) because we look more for permanent people," Wenger said.

"At the moment we have (Olivier) Giroud available, (Theo) Walcott available, we are not too short in this department, so we will see."


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