Wenger - This is a special opportunity

The Arsenal team huddle

Sunday’s game at Wembley will be our third Emirates FA Cup semi-final in the past four seasons - and undoubtedly the biggest test of the lot.

After seeing off Championship sides Wigan Athletic and Reading in 2014 and 2015 respectively, we face a tricky tie against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, but Arsene Wenger says it is a “special opportunity” for his side to finish a difficult season on a positive note.

“It was difficult for us as 2014 was a special pressure,” he said. “We had not won a trophy for a long time, and people either wanted to us to win a trophy or questioned us about winning a trophy. The pressure was big but this time is a special opportunity for us.

“Every competition brings a psychological atmosphere. We have seen teams not doing well in the Premier League and then suddenly they are doing very well in a different competition. They don’t carry the negative vibes of bad experiences in this competition.

“The Premier League is more of a marathon and this is more condensed and quicker rewarded. It is a result of one game, so let’s go for it and see who is the best on the day.

“When you have negative results like we had it can divide or unite,” the manager added. “At some stage you have to show you can fight together. Even if people will say it’s normal for you to win at Middlesbrough, when you go through a bad period its difficult in your head to win everywhere.

“The best way to win is first to show that you can fight again. People questioned our fighting spirit and rightly so after the Palace game. We had to show again that we can fight together. When the team fights and doesn’t win, it creates even more uncertainty. The fact they did fight and did win had a positive impact.”


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