Pressure is on Arsenal in Carling Cup says Arsene Wenger

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The Independent Football

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."