AW reflects on FA Cup win over Hammers

The late victory over West Ham in the FA Cup at Upton Park yesterday makes plenty of column inches in today’s papers — though not quite as much as United losing to Leeds!
The Sun reports that AW saw his side scrape through to a tricky fourth-round tie at Stoke.
Goals from Aaron Ramsey and Eduardo cancelled out an Alessandro Diamanti opener. AW said: “I’d have preferred United to have won. Losing to Leeds has not done them so much of a favour in the Premier League when you look at the fixtures.
“But in the Champions League, yes. The fifth round of the cup is just three days before United go to AC Milan. And just before the fifth round, we would play in the previous midweek and four days after it we play Porto.”
In fact, the Gunners face a mammoth task between the fourth and fifth rounds of the FA Cup – should they triumph at the Britannia Stadium. Our boys play Aston Villa, United, Chelsea and Liverpool in an 18-day spell that will shape their entire season.
AW shuffled his team against the Hammers, as injuries bit deep, making five changes from the side that thrashed Portsmouth in midweek. The world’s oldest knockout competition is the last on Wenger’s list of priorities.
And when asked if he would still try to put out his strongest side should they get past Stoke, he replied: “It depends on how many players I get back from injury and whether I do something in the transfer window. I have Andrey Arshavin, Theo Walcott, Denilson and Cesc Fabregas out and that is without even mentioning the players at the back who cannot play.”
This morning’s Mail points out that when the full-time whistle split the freezing East End air, West Ham had completed 275 passes compared to Arsenal’s 575. Of the match, AW told the paper: ‘We had a difficult first half against a committed West Ham,’ said Wenger. ‘They were well organised, won the 50-50s and were quicker on the ball, but in the second half we played at a better tempo and West Ham dropped physically.’
And the Mirror tells us that AW made five changes from the team which beat Portsmouth in the Premier League last Wednesday with Andrei Arhavin joining Cesc Fabregas on the nine-man injury list.
But with the chance to go second in the Premier League on Wednesday night,he still did not start with his strongest team and nearly paid the price.
“The FA matters,” he insisted. “The team I picked today was because I wanted to win. The problem we had was that we have played Sunday, Wednesday and will play again on Wednesday at Bolton and against Everton on Saturday. So you cannot play with the same 11 players.”
Next up…Bolton at home in the Premier League then!

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