Belfast Telegraph

My Arsenal future doesn't hinge on Cup glory, says Wenger

By Mark Mann-Bryans

Arsene Wenger insists Arsenal's FA Cup performance and his future as Gunners boss are not intertwined.

A semi-final against Manchester City on Sunday is next on the agenda for Wenger and his side following a crucial Premier League victory over Middlesbrough.

The 2-1 win was just a third success in eight games for the beleaguered Frenchman, who has seen a minority of fans call for him to leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Wenger reckons he has made up his mind on whether he will stay or go but is yet to make that decision public.

He again dodged the question when asked at his press conference to preview the Cup semi-final, but did say failure to win against City, or deliver a record seventh FA Cup, will have no bearing on whether he is in the dugout next season.

"It doesn't play any part in that," Wenger said. "The FA Cup is a very important game for me because it's the next game and because it's an opportunity to win a trophy this season. So of course we are all fully focused on that. My future is Sunday.

"What I expect when you go into a semi-final is to go to the final. I think somebody told me that I had played 10 semi-finals in the FA Cup, so that means it's a great experience.

"I remember my first one, when we played at Villa Park against Wolves. That's the day I realised how big the club is, how much it means to our supporters."

While winning a 13th FA Cup will be seen as a success for Arsenal, failure to finish inside the Premier League top four and achieve Champions League qualification would taint any victory.

But Wenger insists the club are not in a position where they have to start prioritising the FA Cup over the league.

"You don't think about it like that because we don't have to make a choice," he said.

"We are not in a position where you can make a choice, do we choose this or do we choose that? The next game is the semi-final of the FA Cup, so we have to give absolutely everything to go to the final."

Arsenal have a number of players ruled out through injury, with David Ospina, Shkodran Mustafi, Danny Welbeck, Lucas Perez and Jeff Reine-Adelaide all sidelined.

They join long-term absentee Santi Cazorla in the Arsenal treatment room.

Belfast Telegraph

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