herald

Friday 2 December 2016

wenger: 'let's finish the job'

Arsene Wenger has told his Arsenal side to "finish the job" and win Saturday's FA Cup final against Aston Villa.

The Gunners ended a nine-year trophy drought by beating Hull in last season's final and victory over Villa would make Wenger the first post-war manager to win the FA Cup six times.

Hull were Arsenal's third-round opponents before wins over Brighton, Middlesbrough, Manchester United and Reading - after a semi-final which went to extra-time - saw Wenger's men advance.

"It's not easy. I would love to do it but I'm not honestly focused on that," said the Gunners boss.

"I'm more focused on the fact that we have fought so hard to get there.

"We went to Man United to qualify and we had to win big games to get there. Now we want to finish the job."

Comparing his emotions 12 months on from the build-up to the final with Hull when his position was under scrutiny, Wenger said: "The demand was absolute last year.

"Personally I am always the same when I go into big game like this - I have always the same pressure, I just want to do it."

Wenger's side finished third in the Barclays Premier League and are aiming to cap a successful season which he hopes to build upon next term.

"It's not easy to get to the FA Cup final and it's not easy to finish in the top three in England," he added.

"We have been remarkably consistent since January and that's why I think we have a good chance next season."

First his focus is on Saturday, when Arsenal must prevail without striker Danny Welbeck, who has been ruled out of both the cup clash and England's forthcoming internationals with the Republic of Ireland and Slovenia with a knee injury.

Wenger insisted Welbeck, who has not played since the goalless draw with Chelsea on April 26, has not suffered a setback.

"His bone bruising of the knee has not healed," the Frenchman added. "It took longer than expected. He didn't practice until (last) Friday, so I knew he would be short for the FA Cup. I was prepared for that."

The Gunners boss must also decide if Theo Walcott will start up front after his hat-trick in last season's Premier League-concluding 4-1 defeat of West Brom.

"I will not tell you anything today," Wenger added. "I don't know who will start yet. Nobody knows at the moment."

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