Wenger spreads the 'positive vibes' after lost fortnight

Arsenal manager looks to FA Cup battle with United as a chance for his side to regain momentum

Arsene Wenger has said that he hopes to return "positive vibes" to his Arsenal side with a good result against Manchester United this afternoon.

His team travel to Old Trafford for the FA Cup sixth round match today after enduring a difficult last fortnight. Arsenal lost the League Cup final 13 days ago and were knocked out of the Champions League in midweek. Wenger acknowledged that Arsenal had suffered "disappointing results recently", but added that the same was true of United and that today's contest would be decided by whichever team reacted best.

After a run of 11 games undefeated in all competitions, Arsenal lost the Carling Cup final 2-1 to Birmingham City on 27 February. Extra-time was imminent when a defensive mistake gifted Obafemi Martins a winning goal in the penultimate minute. This Tuesday Arsenal were knocked out of the Champions League as they lost their last-16 second leg 3-1 in Barcelona. Wenger has since been charged with improper conduct by Uefa for comments allegedly made after the game. The Arsenal manager sees this afternoon's match as a promising opportunity to win back some momentum.

"My real problem," he said when discussing the match, "is to get the team back with positive vibes. And for us the game on that front is important because it can put us in the semi-final of the Cup." Arsenal were last in an FA Cup semi-final in 2009, but should they win today they will have another good chance for their first silverware since 2005.

Their opponents are themselves recovering from two significant defeats. While United remain at the top of the Premier League, they have lost their last two games: 2-1 away at Stamford Bridge and then 3-1 away at Anfield. Wenger recognised the similarity of the teams' recent results. "I think at the moment the two teams have got a little disappointment, disappointing results recently," he said. "So it's the one who deals the best with that who can come out on top. Man United lost two games, we just lost two as well, so it is how well we deal with that, that will certainly be vital."

Arsenal have already been to Old Trafford once this season, losing 1-0 in the League in December. Samir Nasri said that Manchester United's cautious tactics that day signified that they were scared of their visitors. When asked about this, Wenger suggested instead that Sir Alex Ferguson's approach was pragmatic. "They always play against us with three tight in midfield, and try to put pressure on us from midfield," Wenger said. "They had only Rooney up front, so I think they always set up against us to defend well, I wouldn't say they are scared. They have no reason to be scared because they have enough experience. They always have a realistic approach to the game."

Wenger was keen to distance himself from any suggestion that United are much weaker since the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez in the summer of 2009. "If they have everybody available they have Anderson, Valencia and Nani," he pointed out. "They are still very efficient at the back, very solid. And when Man United gets in the final third they can always score goals, after they lost Ronaldo. I personally believe that Nani this year has made very good progress and has stepped up a lot. At home they score more goals than before, they are still a dangerous side, you feel always when they get in the final third they can score."

Arsenal will go into today's game without goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who will be out for six weeks with a finger injury sustained in the Nou Camp. The 20-year-old dislocated his finger and suffered tendon damage saving a Dani Alves free-kick. His compatriot Lukasz Fabianski will be out for the rest of the season, leaving Manuel Almunia as the only available goalkeeper. Wenger said that he would seek an emergency loan option, but that Almunia would start today; he praised Almunia's attitude as "very professional" and "very dignified" since losing his first-team place. Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott and Alexandre Song are also injured, although Robin van Persie is fit to play.

house + home
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Life and Style
Bats detect and react to wind speed and direction through sensors on their wings
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living