Hull v Arsenal: Thomas Vermaelen calls for Gunners to focus on Premier League efforts despite FA Cup final distraction
Captain feels Arsenal have a 'massive job' in securing fourth place with another trip to Wembley on the horizon
Saturday 19 April 2014
Captain Thomas Vermaelen maintains Arsenal must forget about next month's FA Cup final date with Hull as they look to get on with their “massive job” in the Barclays Premier League, which continues at the KC Stadium on Easter Sunday.
The Gunners tackle Steve Bruce's side in the televised encounter - moved back 24 hours to help Chelsea's Champions League semi-final preparations - in what is a crucial match in their quest to secure a top-four finish, a pursuit which was boosted by Everton's unexpected 3-2 home defeat to Crystal Palace on Wednesday night.
Vermaelen knows Arsenal must put any thoughts of a return to Wembley - where Arsene Wenger's men beat Wigan on penalties last week - out of their minds if they are to produce the required performances over the final four league outings to secure another shot at Champions League football.
"We will play Hull in the FA Cup final, but there is no point looking to that game yet," Vermaelen said.
"We have made it there which was our target, but we want to finish the job on May 17.
"We have a cup final to look forward to, but we have a massive job to do in the league before that so let's forget about the FA Cup for a while and go from game to game in the Premier league.
"We have to look at ourselves not worry about the other teams and just try to win our games."
Arsenal could welcome back club-record signing Mesut Ozil from a hamstring injury which has sidelined the German playmaker since the Champions League clash against Bayern Munich on March 11.
Vermaelen added in the Arsenal matchday programme: "Every single game is really important, now it is always a vital game - that is what playing for a big club like Arsenal means and that is what we want.
"We want to get some momentum going for these league games also I think we will get some players back over the next few weeks, so hopefully we can finish the season well with a strong squad."
Wenger also feels Arsenal cannot allow themselves any distractions as they look to nail down a top four finish.
"We are completely Premier League now until the FA Cup final," the Arsenal manager said.
"Hull have done well at home, so we know that for us a big performance is needed."
Despite now finding themselves back in the driving seat, with only a one-point lead, there remains little margin for error if Arsenal are to stay ahead of Everton over the run-in.
Wenger believes Arsenal can use the demands for results to their advantage.
"Pressure is positive because you play for something," he said. "When you play for something it is a challenge but as well a great opportunity to do well and that is what we live for."
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