Arsene Wenger says he’s both excited and nervous about the FA Cup final as Arsenal look to upset the odds by beating Premier League champions Chelsea.
Today’s showdown at Wembley will be the Frenchman’s eighth final since he arrived in England in 1996 and he stands to become the competition’s outright most successful coach should his side lift the trophy this afternoon, a potential seventh of his reign. A win for the Gunners would also take the Gunners to 13 wins, one clear of Manchester United.
“It’s another big one,” Wenger told Arsenal.com ahead of the showpiece fixture.
“And of course it’s a final so everybody is always highly focused on that and you want to prepare your team to have a good chance to perform and win the game.
“It’s always difficult to predict but you know that the two teams will have qualities collectively and individually. So it will be certainly down to the performance on the day.
“The team that can find that extra focus, that extra little bit that makes you just get on the edge to win against a big opponent. So let’s prepare the squad and our team to be at their best on the day.”
Touching on the cup final experience, Wenger admitted that it’s a highly charged day.
“It’s a mixture of excitement and nerves,” continued. “You want to get as quickly as possible to the game and you just focus on every single detail that can help you to win the game. And knowing that once the game starts you can always win, lose or draw because that’s part of the game.”
It’s 19 years since the boss first won the FA Cup and despite Wembley being rebuilt in that time and the fixture moving to Cardiff for a few years, he admits the routine on the day of the final hasn’t changed too much.
“I discovered the ritual, the preparation on the day, walking out on the pitch and all that was absolutely new [in 1998]. I was stunned by the tradition and how much it means in the country.
“Since then it’s always just an exceptional and special occasion. To get there, the pride to get your fans there, your club there and of course to achieve something special.”
Here’s hoping that losing and drawing doesn’t come into it today…
What did she wear?