Arsenal take on Championship side Middlesbrough for a place in the FA Cup quarter finals on Sunday afternoon and while manager Arsene Wenger admits the league is their priority, he insists the Gunners are taking the FA Cup very seriously.
Arsenal came from behind to defeat Hull City after extra time at Wembley last May and end Wenger’s nine-year wait for a trophy. It was the latest cup success for the Frenchman and he says Arsenal are up for the FA Cup again this season.
“We have won (the FA Cup) five times during my period here,” Wenger said. “Nobody has won it more in the last 18 years, so we have always taken the competition seriously.”
Arsenal are priced at 1.47 to defeat promotion-chasing Middlesbrough (6.57) with the draw at the Emirates 4.04.
While Wenger is clearly determined not to relinquish the trophy without a fight, he freely admits the race for a top four finish in the Premier League remains the priority.
“Our basic is always to finish in the top four and then win a trophy on top of that,” said Wenger.
“We want always to be in the Champions League and this season it will be very difficult, because it’s very tight if you look at the table – every game now becomes a cup game.”
Arsenal face Monaco in the last 16 of the Champions League later this month as Wenger builds on the exceptional record that has seen his team involved in the knockout stages of Europe’s elite competition for a 15 consecutive seasons.