Wenger: Arsenal among Cup favourites

Wenger: Arsenal among Cup favourites

Arsene Wenger admitted Arsenal are “one of the favourites” to win the FA Cup ahead of today’s wide open fifth-round draw.

However, the Gunners manager still warned an unfavourable draw could end his side’s chances of retaining the trophy after a 3-2 victory at Brighton.

Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham are among the 10 Premier League teams to have already slipped out of the competition, potentially clearing a path for remaining top-flight sides.

Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil and Tomas Rosicky ensured Arsenal did not suffer an upset at Championship side Brighton on Sunday, but Wenger still called for caution.

“With Saturday’s results you would be a bit cautious (about being favourites), the cup is the cup and what you want is the focus on the next round and to go through,” he said.

“We have good experience from last season to know that every round is different and the most difficult games were not especially the most expected ones last season.

“So let’s wait for the (fifth round) draw.

“Of course we fight and we want to retain our cup, but it’s too long to go to say that.

“But we’ll be one of the favourites, because I think Man United might go through and some of the other Premier League sides will go through.

“We’ll be among these teams but you cannot predict who will win it.”

The fifth round draw will be screened live amid the BBC programme The One Show, at approximately 7.20pm on Monday.

Wenger will hope Arsenal can avoid Manchester United, who await a replay against Cambridge United, but beyond that the Gunners must now fancy their chances.

Chelsea’s 4-2 Stamford Bridge loss to Bradford and Manchester City’s 2-0 home loss to Middlesbrough underscored a Saturday of shocks.

Arsenal were able to avoid the same fate on Sunday, despite Chris O’Grady and Sam Baldock firing home for Chris Hughton’s men at the Amex Stadium.

Emirates Stadium boss Wenger will hope he can tune into Monday’s FA Cup draw with the signing of Villarreal defender Gabriel Paulista in the bag.

“It’s on the line and nearly (done),” said Wenger, keen for his side to retain their focus.

“The results on Saturday were a big subconscious warning for us, it wakes you up a bit.

“We have good momentum now but we must keep the urgency level very high; we know how quickly the momentum can die in football if you drop your quality.”

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