Arsenal focus on top-four fight
Arsenal are one win away from ending a nine-year wait for silverware but must put any thought of FA Cup glory to one side as they resume their stuttering charge for a Champions League place when they host West Ham United today.
Saturday’s 4-2 penalty shootout victory over holders Wigan Athletic following a 1-1 draw after extra time earned the Gunners a date with fellow Premier League side Hull City on May 17 and a chance to win their first trophy since their FA Cup triumph in 2005.
While lifting a trophy at Wembley would undoubtedly offer the club a welcome boost at a time their ability to hold their nerve when the going gets tough has come into question, a top four finish and a 17th consecutive appearance in Europe’s elite club competition is arguably more important for the financial rewards it brings.
Following an abysmal 3-0 defeat by Everton eight days ago, Arsenal lost their hold on fourth place when the Merseyside club beat Sunderland 1-0 on Saturday.
They are now on 64 points, two behind Everton with five matches remaining, and manager Arsene Wenger said Saturday’s Cup win could help put them in the right mental state for the challenge ahead.
“It was a relief, everybody was happy yesterday, just for having qualified for the final,” the Frenchman told reporters on Monday.