Wigan v Arsenal: Lukas Podolski makes promise Gunners will 'give all of what we have' in FA Cup semi-final
The Gunners are the favourites to progress to the final
Friday 11 April 2014
German forward Lukas Podolski maintains Arsenal are ready to put on a united front and secure their place in the FA Cup final with victory over holders Wigan at Wembley on Saturday.
The Gunners are in danger of allowing a campaign which had promised so much drift away once again, as exit from the Champions League at Bayern Munich was followed by a poor run of Barclays Premier League form which has seen any realistic title chances evaporate.
Indeed, last weekend's 3-0 capitulation at Everton now leaves Arsene Wenger's squad in a battle to secure a top-four finish again.
Podolski, though, is confident everyone can pull together to keep Arsenal on course for what would be a first trophy since 2005.
"It is always like this in football - when you win something, you are the best, you are the hero. When you win nothing or you lose a couple of matches, you are like nothing for the people and for the newspapers, the TV and the for the fans," Podolski said to Arsenal Player.
"But I think this is a part of sport - you win together and you lose together, but in the end you must concentrate on your job and forget all the other things that have happened.
"We have the chance now for the FA Cup and we will see what we can do on Saturday - and I can promise we will give all of what we have to go through to the final."
Podolski, 28, is in no doubt the squad have the needed character to produce a big performance when it matters most.
"You don't fight always for one person - you fight for the club and every player that plays on the pitch gives 100 per cent every time," he said.
"I don't go on the pitch and say to myself that today I don't play well because of something, I go out and want to win the match.
"So together we go out and play for the club and the manager and for the staff - and for all the other people associated with the club."
Podolski feels securing the FA Cup would help soften the blow of not being able to last the distance in the title race alongside Chelsea, Manchester City and a resurgent Liverpool.
"When you play for Arsenal, every year you fight for the title and this year we were close to winning the league. Nearly the whole season, we were top of the League and now the last matches were not so good," said Podolski.
"We lost a lot of matches and we lost a lot of points so now we are a lot behind.
"It is difficult to look for the Premier League title, but we have a big chance for the FA Cup and we must keep that chance.
"It is the biggest cup in the world and a big tradition.
"After a long time it is an important thing for the club and the players as well, so let's see what happens first on Saturday and then if we go to the final."
Wenger knows Arsenal cannot afford to underestimate Uwe Rosler's side, who knocked out Manchester City away in the quarter-finals and have moved up into the Sky Bet Championship play-off places.
Having seen first hand the inability of his own team to play up to their favourites tag when suffering a shock defeat in the 2011 Carling Cup final against Birmingham on their last visit to Wembley, Wenger will certainly not be taking anything for granted.
"We are favourites, yes, but it doesn't mean you win. You win when you produce a quality performance," said Wenger, who will be hoping midfielders Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Tomas Rosicky shrug off minor injuries to play.
"We have, in this competition, produced top-quality performances.
"We are in the semi-final of the FA Cup - you cannot say that we have been invited to play there.
"We have beaten all the teams we have been confronted with by producing top-level performances, so let's just continue with that on Saturday."
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