Wenger: we’ll have to be at our best to reach final

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In 2014, Arsenal required a late goal from Per Mertesacker and a penalty shoot-out to defeat Wigan to reach the FA Cup final.

In 2015 it was an extra-time goal from Alexis Sanchez that saw us through the final against Aston Villa at the expense of Reading.

So, even when the opposition are ‘on paper’ supposed to be overcome relatively easy, the occasion plays a big part. And speaking ahead of Sunday’s clash against Man City, Arsene Wenger says his team will need to be at their best to get past Pep Guardiola’s side.

“We are ambitious because we have done it before and we know we can do it” he said.

“In the previous semi finals, we were super favourites but in this game it is between two teams who are very close to each other in the Premier League so it is much more level on chances at the start.

“We know we absolutely have to be at our best to qualify.”

Arsenal drew 2-2 with City a few weeks ago, and lost to them 2-1 earlier in the season, but the Arsenal manager is excited to face them again, knowing a trophy is just two games away.

“It’s always something special,” he said. “I remember my first, when we played at Villa Park against Wolves.

“That’s the day when I realised how big the club is, how much it means to our supporters because suddenly the stadium is divided in two for an away game and your fans are all there.

“So it’s a special experience and we are focused and highly motivated.

“Maybe not at the maximum of our confidence because we had recently some disappointing results, but that is a good opportunity to show we are ready for a fight and how much we want to go to the final.”

If Arsenal were to win the cup this season, Wenger would set a record for the most wins by any manager, one he shares right now with George Ramsay who won the cup six times with Villa.

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