FA Cup replay 'vital' to Arsenal says Robin van Persie

Robin van Persie feels it is "vital" Arsenal come through their FA Cup replay against Leeds at Elland Road tomorrow night - whatever side manager Arsene Wenger sends out at Elland Road.

The Gunners boss is again expected to rotate his starting XI for what will be their sixth fixture of a congested January after needing a last-minute penalty from captain Cesc Fabregas to deny the npower Championship side a famous win at Emirates Stadium.

Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh were both unused substitutes for the 3-0 win at West Ham on Saturday, which kept up Arsenal's Barclays Premier League title challenge.

Czech winger Tomas Rosicky is expected to be involved tomorrow having recovered from a virus, while there could also be a first start for midfielder Aaron Ramsey after his return to action from a broken leg.

Van Persie did not feature in either the Leeds game or the Carling Cup semi-final first leg defeat at Ipswich.

However, the Holland forward, 27, feels Arsenal have the strength in depth to produce the required performance at Elland Road which would secure a home fourth-round tie against Huddersfield.

"Those two cup games were not good enough, but against West Ham, everyone played really well and were fighting for each other," van Persie said.

"This game is vital because we have a big chance.

"If we win against Leeds, then after that it will be a game against a lower league side again.

"I have looked at the draw, there are a lot of other Premier League teams playing each other, so lots of teams will go out, which means we have big chances to go further.

"We have the squad to go further because 90% of the squad are fit now and we can rotate a bit when needed.

"If you ask me, we will go for that [FA Cup] game as well."

Wenger admits he has to be "cautious" with van Persie, guarding against more injury problems.

Even if, as expected, van Persie finds himself on the bench at Elland Road or even rested completely, the Dutch striker will understand.

"We had a little conversation last week over the game against Ipswich because I wanted to play and felt good," van Persie added to Arsenal TV Online.

"The manager said: 'I know you want to play Robin, but you have to be patient because we have so many games coming up this month, I want you to be at your best for February, March and April'.

"I trust him. He has been in the game so long, and looks at everything, so if he says so, then it is right."

Wojciech Szczesny will again be in goal as Lukasz Fabianski remains sidelined with a shoulder problem, while full-back Bacary Sagna is available after completing a three-man ban.

Wenger accepts he maybe did not get the balance of his side right against Leeds at Emirates Stadium, but is in no doubt the travelling squad will be fully focused on the job in hand tomorrow.

"I don't think the quality of the players played a part in the first game, it was more the structure of the team was a bit unbalanced and looking forward too much, therefore we could not dominate the midfield as we are used to," said Wenger, whose search for cover in central defence continues.

"I am confident we can do it [at Leeds].

"We are strong away from home and know we got out of jail, so we will focus to do well."

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
Sport
Jonas Gutierrez (r) competes with Yaya Toure (l)
football

Newcastle winger is in Argentina having chemotherapy

Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum
theatre

Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleThe Times of India said actress should treat it as a 'compliment'
News
news

Watch this commuter wage a one-man war against the Circle Line
News
We are phenomenally good at recognising faces; the study showed that humans have been selected to be unique and easily recognisable
science

Human faces unique 'because we don't recognise each other by smell'

Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show?
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
lifeShould we feel guilty about keeping cats inside?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
news

Man's attempt to avoid being impounded heavily criticised

Arts and Entertainment
Blossoming love: Colin Firth as Stanley and Emma Stone as Sophie, in 'Magic in the Moonlight'
film

Colin Firth and Emma Stone star together in Magic in the Moonlight: Woody Allen's 1920s romance

Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Student
The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is to offer a BA degree in Performance and Creative Enterprise
student

Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Life and Style
The findings suggest that some of the genetic factors which influence birth size may play a part in influencing an infant’s mental development
health...while smaller babies have greater schizophrenia risk, study claims
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week