History weighs as Arsenal seek breakthrough

Frank Dalleres
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ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger admits the club’s nine-year trophy drought will weigh on his players when they attempt to end that unwanted run in the FA Cup final against Hull.

The Frenchman conceded that those nerves told in a jittery semi-final win over second-tier Wigan, but believes that it will be no disaster even if the Gunners suffer an upset at Wembley on Saturday.

“No matter what the result will be, this club – and this is always most important – can deal with the consequences of any game,” said Wenger.

“No matter how much we talk about it, you can win and lose but you want to come out of the game feeling you have done the maximum to win and that is what we want to achieve.”

On whether the wait for silverware made the final more difficult, he added: “A little, but at the end of the day once you walk over the line you just focus on your football.

“You don’t play with the history, you play with your quality and your desire to play well. It is an opportunity and we have to take a distance with time. We need to just turn up and play well.”

Wenger again denied that the outcome of the final would influence whether he signs a new contract that has been on the table for months, though declined to elaborate on what has become a sensitive topic.

Defender Bacary Sagna and goalkeeper Lukas Fabianski are also out of contract this summer and could feature in their last games for the club this weekend.

The latter is less certain to play, with regular No1 Wojciech Szczesny in line for a first FA Cup start this term, though Wenger insisted he would have no qualms about selecting Fabianski or Sagna.

Wenger added that midfielder Jack Wilshere was progressing well and should be match-fit in time to play for England at the World Cup.

Beyond Saturday, Arsenal are believed to be interested in activating a clause that would allow them to re-sign Mexico forward Carlos Vela from Real Sociedad for €4m (£3.25m).

Vela left north London for the Spanish club on a permanent basis two years ago and has flourished since, with his market value now estimated to be around £15m.

The versatile attacker has scored 20 goals this season for the Basque side and assisted 14 more.


Good news
■ Arsenal have won their last five games against Hull, including their last clash in the FA Cup in 2009, when late goals from Robin van Persie and William Gallas sent them into the semis

Bad news
■ Wenger has seen his men lose their last three cup finals – against Birmingham in 2011, Chelsea in 2007 and Barcelona in 2006 – and all by the same scoreline: 2-1