Wigan v Arsenal: Arsene Wenger confirms Aaron Ramsey will start in FA Cup semi-final

Welsh midfielder to make his first start for the club since Boxing Day

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The Independent Football

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed that Aaron Ramsey will make his first start for the club since Boxing Day in the Gunners' FA Cup semi-final against Wigan Athletic at Wembley on Saturday.

The Welsh midfielder had been Arsenal's standout performer this season before picking up a thigh injury in the 3-1 win at West Ham in December. He later suffered setbacks in training. Wenger confirmed that Ramsey will come into the team in place of the Mathieu Flamini, who will be serving the first of a two-match suspension after picking up his 10th yellow card of the season.

"Certainly I will decide to start Ramsey because [Mathieu] Flamini  is suspended," the manager said today.

While Ramsey will return, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Czech playmaker Tomas Rosicky will both be assessed for minor niggles, and centre-half Laurent Koscielny remains out, along with Germany international Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere.

He added: "At the moment we have too many players out and it is important we get them back.

"We know that at that period of the season, the number of players we had out is too many.

"[Jack] Wilshere has not started to run. I think that is planned next week. At the moment all is going well."

Wenger confirmed Lukasz Fabianski would again play in goal ahead of regular No 1 Wojciech Szczesny as for the other FA Cup ties, despite the 28-year-old being likely to leave in the summer when his contract expires.

"You play football on your merit and your performance and he has turned up with top-level performances until now in every single game," Wenger said of Fabianski.

"When you are a professional you work until the last day of your contract. That is for me being professional. All the rest has nothing to do with professionalism."


Wenger accepts Arsenal cannot afford another below-par display in a key game if they are to stay on course for a first trophy since 2005.

The Gunners boss, however, was still troubled by the manner of his side's capitulation at Goodison Park.

"What is important after our performance against Everton is to show to respond well. That's where our future lies, is our capacity to respond with a strong performance and that is the next game and the next game is the FA Cup," he said.

"We have lost a little bit of confidence, you could see that against Everton because it all went bad for us. Having said that I still would like to say I don't dispute at all that we have not played well but the second goal was offside, the third goal was a foul and the goal we scored was not offside.

"It is time as well for the referees to turn up with performances when it matters.

"I don't want to complain about that because I will quickly come out and say our main focus is what we can influence ourselves - that is important.

"I just think in some games like Chelsea, like Everton the decisions went wrong for us.

"I suppose that every club could come out at the end of the season and say that. We do not want to focus on that, but specifically in our last game it was like that.

"Now, though, we want to focus on our performances."