By Chris Harris
The Carling Cup Final could be a pivotal game in Arsenal's season but Arsène Wenger does not want his team to play with the fear of defeat on Sunday.
Beat Birmingham, the theory goes, and the Gunners can use their first trophy in six years as a springboard for more success in the closing weeks of the season.
But lose at Wembley and there is a danger that the momentum built up over a promising campaign could be derailed, thus hampering their hopes of glory in other competitions.
Wenger knows how much is at stake on Sunday but all he asks of his players is that they have no regrets when they leave Wembley.
"There is always a risk but you fight very hard to be in this kind of position," said the manager.
"In football, when you lose you have to accept defeat. But what is important when you go into a Final is that you give absolutely everything.
"You do not want to go into a Final with fear that if you lose it will be dramatic. What you want is to go into the final and give everything to win it and that is how we approach the game."
Arsenal have suffered their fair share of Cup Final shocks down the years but Wenger is adamant that, whatever the result on Sunday, the season will be very much alive.
"We want to go for everything and the next one is the most important one," he said.
"No matter what happens we have such a big end of season in front of us, whether we win or don't win. What is the most important is that we have promised ourselves to give absolutely everything in every game until the end of the season and that is the target we have in front of us."Copyright 2017 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