WENGER WANTS REVENGE
ARSENAL v LIVERPOOL (Tomorrow, 11.55pm, SingTel mio TV Ch 111)
Revenge may be on Arsenal's agenda as they face Liverpool tomorrow, but so is the Champions League clash against Bayern Munich next Thursday morning (Singapore time).
With the visit of the German champions in mind, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hinted yesterday that he might not field his strongest side against Liverpool, just a week after the Reds thrashed them 5-1.
"I will play a team (against Liverpool) with a good opportunity, a good chance to qualify," he said.
"Will I rest one player, or two or three? I don't know yet. Certainly, we will just have one focus, which is to win the game.
"We have rotated quite well, if you look at the number of players we have used. I have the same level of confidence in every player.
"For example, I rate (Carl) Jenkinson, but (Bacary) Sagna has a bit more experience, so when we go in a game with more pressure, I give the advantage sometimes to the experienced player.
"But I have the same level of confidence in every player in my squad. I have a short squad but a very level squad," he insisted.
Mathieu Flamini will return from suspension for tomorrow's clash at the Emirates, but midfielder Santi Cazorla misses out because of illness.
The French midfielder has been out since Jan 28 because of his red card in the 2-2 draw at Southampton.
"We have only one player back and that's (Mathieu) Flamini. He should be fresh. (Santi) Cazorla is ill in bed, he won't be available," said Wenger.
In last week's clash at Anfield, Arsenal were battered as Liverpool scored four goals inside the opening 20 minutes.
Wenger insists that tomorrow's fifth-round match gives them the perfect opportunity to bounce back.
"We have got it out of our system, our main frailty at Liverpool was that we conceded goal after goal in 20 minutes," Wenger said.
"On Wednesday night (against Manchester United), we came back to our usual defensive stability.
"Liverpool are the first team that we want to play. When you can put things right, what you want is an opportunity to do that. We have that opportunity."
Wenger conceded last Saturday's defeat was a painful one.
"Of course it hurt, these guys are winners. When they lose like that, believe me they were hurting.
"But we will go for every competition that we can and the FA Cup is one of them."
Arsenal's last trophy was the FA Cup in 2005 and they have a long history of rivalry with Liverpool in the competition, playing them in the final three times with wins in 1950 and 1971 and a defeat in 2001.
As well as seeking success in the FA Cup, Wenger's focus is still fixed firmly on the Premier League title.
With 12 matches to play, Chelsea lead the standings, a point ahead of the Gunners. Third-placed Manchester City are three points behind the leaders, but have a game in hand.
The Gunners gave a strangely muted performance in the 0-0 draw with Manchester United in the Premier League on Wednesday and have won only one of their last four league games.
"If you say you are not in the race, you cannot lose it," Wenger said.
"But I say yes, we are in it. Yes, we will have a go for it and if we lose, I will take responsibility for it.
"The title race is very open, only Chelsea can lose it now because they are in front." - Reuters.
numbers The top four teams for most clean sheets in this season's Premier League are all from London - Arsenal, Chelsea, West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur. 4 Will I rest one player, or two or three? I don't know yet. Certainly, we will just have one focus, which is to win the game.
- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (above) on the FA Cup match against Liverpool FA CUP