By Richard Clarke
Arsène Wenger hopes the standard of the pitch at the ‘new’ Wembley matches that of the old one.
The Frenchman will lead out his side in the FA Cup Semi-Final against Chelsea on Saturday. It will be Arsenal’s first trip to the traditional home of English football since it was refurbished.
Wembley’s old pitch was renowned as one of the best, perhaps its reputation was only bettered by that of Highbury, and the Arsenal manager wants the new version to be comparable.
"I loved the old Wembley personally,” he admitted at his pre-match press conference. “I was not too impressed by the new Wembley.
“I was only there was as a spectator at the first FA Cup Final between Chelsea and Manchester United. Maybe I will have a completely different impression this time, I was not behind the scenes in the stadium or on the pitch.
"But historically, as a boy, we played always on bad grounds and the dream of everybody was to play on the marvellous grass of Wembley.
"When I heard they had problems with the pitch that was a big disappointment because you always felt you wanted to play at Wembley as there was something special on the pitch there. If that is not there any more then it is a little bit disappointing.
"I expect a good pitch but the noises I get are not as convincing as the former pitch. But the former pitch was really something special.”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 17 Apr 2009