If Arsenal are slightly off the boil then we can win

Last updated : 05 January 2008 By Tony Scholes
Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger brings a side to Burnley for the first time and he's been speaking about the competition itself and of course this third round tie. "I don't like it when people disrespect the FA Cup," Wenger said ahead of the game.

"Personally I love the competition, but I saw Kitson's interview. He's an intelligent boy and I think he was just saying they have different priorities.

"For us, this is our next game and we have created a momentum which we want to keep going. Whoever is in the squad, we know that if we play well, we win. So let's just go and win the next game whether it's the FA Cup, Carling Cup or any other competition. At the beginning of the season we didn't know if we were good enough to win our games. Now we know we can. And it's not like we have won the FA Cup 10 years on the trot."

Wenger is expecting a tough game. "We have to respect Burnley," he said. "The side we take up will have to play at their best because if you give them a chance they certainly have enough quality to take it. They have Ade Akinbiyi, David Unsworth, Jon Harley and Graham Alexander. That's many good Premier League players with experience."

And back to the FA Cup he confirmed: "It's not in conflict too much with the Premier League but more the Champions League. That's because of the number of replays positioned every time just in front of the Champions League games.

"But we want to do well in the competition and we have a common desire to do well in every single competition we play in. In fact, if you look at it, in the last 10 years nobody outside the top four has won this competition. And we are highly motivated to win it again. So please, don't expect us to sacrifice the FA Cup."

Owen Coyle has played in a side that has beaten Arsenal in the FA Cup and is now hoping to do the double as a manager, although he does accept we are not favourites to win the game.

"Obviously we go into this game as massive underdogs, but it has been shown before that it can be done and I think that's why we all love the FA Cup. It's the most glamorous national cup competition in world football and come Sunday it will be a packed house here and we want to reward the fans for the loyalty and support they have given us.

"That wouldn't come any better than going and achieving a result against Arsenal to do that for them, but I'm not naïve. If we play to our maximum and Arsenal play to their maximum then Arsenal will win the cup tie. But if we are at our best and Arsenal are slightly off the boil then we can win this tie, absolutely.

"We will look to commit players forward and look to be positive. Whether Arsenal will allow us to do it will probably determine that, but I think it would be folly for us to go and be negative and not offer anything in the game because ultimately they'll pick you off and beat you one, two or 3-0. I'd rather be positive and try to go to win the game and see where it takes us."

Speaking about our opponents he added: "There's no doubt they've got players that can open you up. From back to front they are a goalscoring threat from everywhere. I think they have evolved as players and evolved as a team and they can now play their silky stuff, they can mix it up and they can also be physical. There are so many dimensions to their play that if you thought too hard about it you would get a wee bit in awe.

"We'll give them all the respect that they have earned because they are top, world class players, but we can play a bit too. We've got players who can cause opposition teams damage, and we'll look to get those players on the ball and try to be positive, get crosses in, get chances made and get shots on goal.

"This is a cup tie and it has been shown year after year that shocks do happen. We won't be making any claims that we will do this or that, but what we will say is that we'll give our best to try to do that and we'll see what it brings."