Pressure is on Arsenal in Carling Cup says Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger accepts Ipswich have "nothing to lose" in tonight's Carling Cup semi-final first leg at Portman Road as Arsenal look to learn the lessons of their warning against Leeds.

The Gunners needed a last-minute penalty from captain Cesc Fabregas, who had started on the bench, to secure a 1-1 draw from their FA Cup third-round clash at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Although Arsenal are expected to comfortably dispose of the Tractor Boys, who earlier this week appointed Paul Jewell as Roy Keane's replacement, Wenger insists his Barclays Premier League title chasers can take nothing for granted as they aim to stay on course for Wembley and a first trophy since 2005.

"We have been warned," Wenger said. "We will certainly be on our toes going to Ipswich.

"Our last game has shown that against a Championship team we must be completely up for it and focused from the first minute on if we don't want to be surprised.

"In the Premier League there are one or two players standing out where the club has spent a lot of money. In the Championship you face the team as a compact unit who is ready to fight against you, and I think that is what we will face against Ipswich.

"The pressure is on Arsenal and they have nothing to lose. That is part of being at Arsenal to deal with that and I accept that completely."

Wenger will again rotate his squad tonight, but the likes of Laurent Koscielny, Jack Wilshere and Robin van Persie could all be back having sat out the FA Cup tie.

"Maybe we were a bit unbalanced offensively in our team and maybe we have to be a bit more cautious in the structure of our team," Wenger said.

"I see the Carling Cup as a possibility of a trophy and that's how we will approach the semi-final.

"What is in the players' brain is a desire to win. Trophies are the consequence of your performance and the quality of your display."

Wenger is likely to move in the transfer market for a centre-back, with Thomas Vermaelen still sidelined indefinitely by a troublesome Achilles problem and Sebastien Squillaci set to be out for at least three weeks with a hamstring strain.

The Arsenal manager, though, insists he will not simply make a panic buy as cover for Koscielny and Johan Djourou.

Bolton's Gary Cahill, Montpellier's Bosnian international Emir Spahic and Werder Bremen stopper Per Mertesacker - who would be ineligible for the Champions League tie against Barcelona - are all reported targets.

"We always have people in mind, and we look everywhere," Wenger said.

"If we find somebody at the right level we will do it, if not we will continue like this.

"We have still solutions internally with [Ignasi] Miquel, with [Alex] Song who can play centre-back and with Squillaci, who should come back very quickly."

Wenger added: "Ideally it would be better if they were adapted to English football because if you need players now in January you cannot wait three months before they can play for you.

"If the opportunity turns up we will fetch it, but if not we can cope. I believe we can cope."



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable