Alex Song demands Arsenal focus ahead of hectic schedule

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The Independent Football

Alex Song maintains Arsenal must not lose focus on the challenges ahead despite their disappointment at allowing Leyton Orient to force the Gunners into an FA Cup fifth-round replay.

The Cameroon midfielder was the only member of the starting XI which had beaten Barcelona included at Brisbane Road yesterday as manager Arsene Wenger made full use of his squad, which included a debut for teenage Spanish centre-half Ignasi Miquel.

It had all just about been going to plan after Tomas Rosicky headed in his first goal in more than a year at the start of the second half.

However, with just a minute of normal time remaining, substitute Jonathan Tehoue earned the battling npower League One side a money-spinning replay.

Wenger admitted his men, who needed two attempts to see off Leeds in the third round, could have done without another fixture, as they continue to fight on four fronts.

After a hectic January, the Gunners will now set off on a run of five games in 14 days, including the Carling Cup final, their replay against Orient on March 2 and then the second leg of the Champions League tie against Barcelona, which Arsenal lead 2-1.

Arsenal host Stoke in a rearranged Barclays Premier League game on Wednesday night, when they will be looking to close the gap on leaders Manchester United, potential FA Cup quarter-final opponents.

And Song feels they cannot dwell on the Orient result.

"It is not very good to have another game because we are playing a lot, but we have drawn a game we wanted to win," he said.

"Now we need to be focused because we have one game coming soon, which we need to win for the Premier League, and then we have the Carling Cup final next week."

Song continued: "It is always very difficult when you play one big game [Barcelona], and when you come back you play a team you are supposed to beat,

"But we are still in the FA Cup and I am 100% sure we will win the replay at the Emirates."

Song, 23, firmly believes Arsenal's latest generation can deliver some overdue silverware this season.

"We have a very good team and always work very hard in training because this year is very important for us," he said.

"We want to do very well because everyone has been waiting for this moment for a long time.

"We are in a strong position because we are in four competitions and that is very good for us.

"We need just to take game by game. The next step is Wednesday against Stoke which is very important.

"If we win that we are only two points behind Manchester United, which would be great news."

Orient's goalscorer Tehoue was at French club Bastia at the same time as Song.

The 26-year-old maintains Russell Slade's League One play-off hopefuls will have nothing to lose at the Emirates Stadium.

"Anything can happen. This is the FA Cup," said Tehoue.

"When you play you never tell yourself you will lose. Even if it is Arsenal, we will go there and try to get through.

"In one game, anyone can beat anyone."

Tehoue, who netted a hat-trick in the 8-2 second-round win over Droylsden, is working his way back to full fitness following a hamstring injury, and hopes to have a big impact on the remainder of Orient's season.

"Every player wants to start, it is not really nice to be on the bench all the time, but I have to stay professional and do the job the best I can," he said.

"I have to show the manager what I can bring to the team.

"I just need match fitness."