Wenger boosted by Manchester United slip

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels Manchester United's shock exit from the FA Cup may give their rivals a slight advantage in the quest for European glory.

The Gunners booked a place in the fourth round, where they will face Stoke, after coming from behind to win 2-1 at West Ham.

Earlier in the day, a much-changed United had been beaten at home by Coca-Cola League One leaders Leeds.

Wenger believes with the domestic and European fixtures piling up towards February, that extra rest for Sir Alex Ferguson's men could prove crucial.

"Manchester United won't gain a great advantage in the Premier League, it is more with the Champions League that the FA Cup is conflicting," said Wenger.

"The fifth round is just before a Champions League game and before that we play a lot in midweek.

"But at the moment, I don't think Manchester United have gained an advantage in the title race."

Wenger openly admits he would like to strengthen his squad - without Holland striker Robin van Persie to a long-term injury - as they look to compete on all fronts, but remains unsure just what the January sales will bring.

He said: "As many people say - I have the money, I have the desire, but I have not the players.

"I do not know what will happen [in the transfer window generally].

"Basically, it depends how the big guns - Manchester City and Chelsea - will move.

"Where will they buy? If they buy from English clubs, the market will be busy.

"If they do not buy from English clubs, I think the market will be very quiet because there is not a lot of money around."

With one eye on Wednesday night's crucial Barclays Premier League clash against Bolton, when Arsenal could close the gap on leaders Chelsea to just one point, Wenger made five changes to his starting XI, giving games to reserve keeper Lukasz Fabianski, youngsters Carlos Vela, Fran Merida and Luke Wilshere along with veteran defender Mikael Silvestre.

West Ham took the lead in first-half stoppage time when Alessandro Diamanti beat the offside trap.

However, after Wenger had sent on Abou Diaby and Samir Nasri just after the hour, the visitors got themselves back in the tie through the outstanding Aaron Ramsey before Eduardo's looping header completed the turnaround with seven minutes left.

Wenger said: "We had a very difficult first half, against a West Ham side who were committed and got caught on the break.

"In the second half we played at a higher tempo and could make the difference in the final 20 minutes."

Ramsey turned 19 on Boxing Day.

With Alex Song set to join Cameroon at the African Nations Cup, and captain Cesc Fabregas sidelined by a hamstring problem, the Wales midfielder looks set for a sustained run in the side.

"He improves from game to game. I set him a target at the start of the season to play between 15 and 20 games," said Wenger.

"It looks like he will get that very quickly."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
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

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map