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Arsenal vs. Manchester City

50-50 Challenge Aug 8, 2014
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Aug 9, 2014

Cup win gives Gunners confidence

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain believes Arsenal are still benefiting from the feel-good factor of winning the FA Cup and thinks the triumph could spur the team on to more success this season.

The Gunners ended a nine-year wait for silverware when they beat Hull at Wembley in May - a victory that eased the disappointment of another underwhelming league finish.

Arsenal spent more than 100 days at the top of the Barclays Premier League last season but had to settle for fourth, seven points behind champions Manchester City, who they face in the Community Shield on Sunday.

"When there's a lot of talk about a team that should or could be winning things and it's not happening it can become a little bit frustrating," Oxlade-Chamberlain said.

"There's been a little bit of negative media about Arsenal in recent years but we always believed we would win a trophy soon and the squad we're putting together could do it.

"The fact it did happen, I don't know if it was a relief, it was a really nice reward for the togetherness we've had to show for a while now.

"It does start a winning momentum and once you know you can win, it gives you confidence - you can go into competitions thinking you can win and expecting to go far."

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini insists the club's stated target of winning five trophies in five years is "not important" to him.

City chief executive Ferran Soriano underlined the ambition from the hierarchy at the Etihad Stadium in May 2013 when he said about the next five seasons: "On average, I want one trophy or title a year.

"That is the Champions League, the Premier League or the FA Cup."

Pellegrini was announced as successor to the sacked Roberto Mancini shortly after and in the campaign that followed, City won the Premier League title and the Capital One Cup.

That looks like a decent start in terms of working towards Soriano's goal, but when asked ahead of Sunday's Community Shield clash with Arsenal about the chief executive's comments, Pellegrini said: "I don't have a target to win five titles.

"Every time I play a competition, I want to win it.

"But that thing that we have to win five titles in five years - for me it is not important."

Pellegrini was keen to emphasise the point that his side will be doing their utmost to claim silverware at every opportunity.

Asked about his priorities for the season, the Chilean said: "For this year, our target is exactly the same as last year.

"We will play in the four competitions we must play in and we will try to continue in all competitions as far as we can. Exactly the same as last year.

"We continue trying to win the Premier League, the FA Cup, the Capital One Cup and the Champions League, and we will see during the season what we can do."

Of City's new recruits, only Willy Caballero, Fernando and Bruno Zuculini might feature in Sunday's match at Wembley, with City set to have eight players missing.

Frank Lampard is deemed not ready to be involved yet and the same applies to Bacary Sagna, along with Sergio Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis, Fernandinho and skipper Vincent Kompany - a sextet who were involved in the knockout stages of the World Cup.

Alvaro Negredo is the other man to miss out due to his foot injury.

Meanwhile, Arsenal's trio of World Cup winners Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski are also unavailable having been given extra rest after their triumph in Brazil.

Although acknowledging there will be a considerable number of high-profile absentees, Pellegrini is adamant the contest will be more than just a glorified friendly.

"Of course it is not a friendly match," the 60-year-old said.

"It is an important game against an important team in Arsenal.

"Maybe both teams do not arrive in our best moment because both have a lot of players who are just getting back after the World Cup.

"But I think it will be a very good game, it is important for both teams to try to win it, and we will try to do that."

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