ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger watched his side take a huge step towards ending their six-year trophy drought, but insisted he would not let the pursuit of long-awaited silverware become “an obsession”.
An own goal from Antolin Alcaraz and a second-half strike by Nicklas Bendtner eased the Gunners into the semi-finals of the Carling Cup.
With holders Manchester United crashing out of the competition with a shock four-goal drubbing at West Ham just a few miles east, Wenger’s men are suddenly the hot tips to triumph at Wembley on 27 February.
The Carling Cup, fourth priority though it may be, would bring immense cheer to legions of Arsenal fans weary of seeing their silky style torn to ribbons when silverware beckons, and mean a fresh addition to the trophy cabinet for the first time since 2005.
But Wenger said: “You can’t say it’s not important, but you can’t make an obsession of that either. We want to focus on the quality of our performances and the rest will be the consequence of our performances.
“Supporters always want more, which is completely natural. I just want to say we have played for 14 consecutive years in the Champions League, and many people would be happy with that.”
Victory also ended Arsenal’s run of two successive home defeats, although with Wenger making nine changes from the team that won at Aston Villa on Saturday, his side lacked cohesion, especially in the early stages.
With Arsenal labouring it was left to the visitors to score for them, and defender Alcaraz duly did so on 42 minutes when he nodded Walcott’s left-wing corner into his own net.
Robin Van Persie and Bendtner both headed off target early in the second half before the Denmark forward doubled the lead by capping one of the night’s few flowing moves.
Van Persie spread the play to Carlos Vela on the left who delivered a teasing low cross for Bendtner to slide in and convert at the back post on 65 minutes.
Wenger’s adamant he won’t be spending in the January window
ARSENE WENGER insists he won’t dip into the transfer market in January because he already has more players than he knows what to do with.
He had been tipped to bolster his defensive options and has funds at his disposal, but the Frenchman is adamant he is already over-staffed.
“We made nine changes tonight, we have still not [Abou] Diaby and [Thomas] Vermaelen, who are injured, as well as [Manuel] Almunia, [Sebastien] Squillaci and [Aaron] Ramsey,” he said.
Captain Cesc Fabregas remains sidlined and Wenger admitted he did not know when the midfielder would be over his hamstring injury.
“It’s impossible to say at the moment,” he added. “It’s not a big injury but it’s very difficult to say.”
The Spain star is in a race be fit for the Premier League trip to Manchester United on 13 December.