Man Utd, Arsenal Battle For FA Cup Ticket

WHAT will be perceived as a successful season for Louis van Gaal and Arsène Wenger  is a top-four place alone enough to satisfy frustrated boards and fans? Perhaps not, which is why both are striving to add the FA Cup, something Arsenal managed to do last season. Wenger has not overseen a win at Old Trafford since 2006, however, and no win over United at all in seven attempts.

In a Friday press conference, Wenger stressed that Arsenal care about winning the FA Cup, and doesn’t see any type of advantage of separating the Gunners from their rivals in the Premier League table.

“It’s a different competition,” Wenger said. “For us, we won the FA Cup last year, and we are the holders of the Cup, and we want of course to keep it. This competition is important to us. We want to go up there and produce the result. I don’t think it’s linked at all with the Premiership.”

He also dismissed Arsenal’s past struggles at Old Trafford.

“I don’t believe too much in history. I believe just in performance of the day.

“At the moment we are doing very well away from home. The size of the pitch is exactly the same everywhere. It’s just down to how much we turn up and how much effort we put in to win the game.”

As usual, Wenger is dealing with a litany of injuries, and he can add center back Gabriel to the list. The Brazilian injured his hamstring this week in a match against Queens Park Rangers, and will be sidelined for two-to-three weeks. Midfielders Jack Wilshere (ankle), Mikel Arteta (ankle), Abou Diaby (calf) and right back Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder) are also out. Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who was absent against QPR due to illness, may not be fit by Monday. Left back Nacho Monreal (back) and defensive midfielder Mathieu Flamini (hamstring) are also questionable for the match.

Despite the injury setbacks, Arsenal have reason to feel confident. After losing to Tottenham on Feb. 7, Arsenal are riding a four-game Premier League winning streak. In FA Cup play, Wenger’s side outscored Hull City, Brighton, and Middlesbrough by a combined score of 7-2. The lone disappointment in recent weeks has been the painful first-leg home loss to AS Monaco, 3-1, on Feb. 25.

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