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Fabianski to start FA Cup semifinal

Arsene Wenger admits big away defeats have affected his side's confidence after Arsenal suffered a 3-0 defeat to top four rivals Everton.

LONDON -- Lukasz Fabianski will start for Arsenal in Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal against Wigan at Wembley, as he continues to play ahead of first-choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny in the competition.

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Wenger made a commitment to his back-up keeper that he would play in the FA Cup at the start of the season and his performances in wins against Tottenham, Liverpool and Everton have justified that selection.

Now Wenger will reward Fabianski with a start at Wembley, as he stressed he had not doubts over picking the shot-stopper who looks set to leave Arsenal when his contract expires next summer.

“Fabianski starts in goal, it is not a difficult decision,” Wenger told reporters at the club’s London Colney training base. “That is a decision made for a long time. He has turned up with top level performances in every game. He has done extremely well and has been man of the match in three games.”

When quizzed on whether the uncertainty over Fabianski’s future at Arsenal was a concern ahead of his FA Cup appearance, Wenger was adamant that he had no doubts over the commitment of the Poland international.

“When you are professional, you work at the top of your job until the last day of your contract,” he stressed. “That’s for me being professional. It is no problem.”

Wenger went on to insist his side’s tag as favourites to beat Wigan on Saturday will not affect his players' mind set, as he stressed FA Cup holders Wigan are worthy of respect following their quarterfinal win against Manchester City.

“We play against opponents that have done well in this competition,” he added. “They have gone through many difficult games. They beat Man City away and we respect highly Wigan for what they have done. The best way for us to go to the final is to do that.

“We have a team with a lot of experience. We are in a competition where we have a great opportunity. We play against a good opponent but it’s a great challenge for us and we want to take the opportunity to go to the final.”

Wenger has fitness concerns over Kieran Gibbs, Tomas Rosicky and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ahead of the game against Wigan, but the latter of those three is expected to be fit for the Wembley game.

Meanwhile, Wenger has confirmed that midfielder Jack Wilshere will step up his recovery from a broken foot next week, as he plans to start running for the first time since he picked up his injury playing for England last month.


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