Wenger talks up Arsenal momentum
Arsene Wenger is certain Arsenal are over their Carling Cup final blues and on track for bigger and better things after the Gunners hammered Leyton Orient in the FA Cup.
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Arsenal suffered an upset defeat to Birmingham in Sunday's Wembley final but they are still in the hunt for three more significant trophies after setting up an FA Cup quarter-final clash with Premier League title rivals Manchester United by routing the Os 5-0 in their fifth-round replay at the Emirates.
Injuries to key players Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott and Robin Van Persie threaten to derail the good form that has seen Arsenal close in on United in the league and edge ahead of Barcelona in their Champions League tie but Wenger said his side's response to their Carling Cup disappointment - albeit against League One Leyton Orient - indicates their good run is far from over.
"It was important, of course, that we had a response after what happened over the weekend,'' Wenger said. "We did it in a professional way; we always focused and didn't give them any chances. Overall it was a normal victory. If you look back we have a long run of positive results but it was important that we did not let ourselves down to give us a good chance to focus on the coming weeks. We have Sunderland on Saturday, Barcelona on Tuesday and then the quarter-final of the FA Cup. It keeps us well focused.''
Wenger admitted he was looking forward to the mouth-watering clash with United at Old Trafford on March 12 but insisted it was nothing to do with the clubs' traditional rivalry.
"Not just because it's Manchester United, because that means we are in the race,'' he said. "I enjoy that. It's difficult to say how we approach this game, how they approach this game. For us, it will be after Barcelona and for them it will be before the Champions League. Of course, the result at Barcelona will have an influence on that as well.''
While Wenger would revel in a cup victory over Sir Alex Ferguson's men, he admitted league success is highest on his list of priorities.
"It is a tight, exciting run-in now,'' he added. "I don't rule Chelsea out, I don't rule Man City out, because everybody can drop points everywhere. It looks like recently we have been on a really good run - if you look back at our last 10 games - and if we maintain our consistency we have a very good chance.''
Leyton Orient manager Russell Slade was quick to praise his side after a "difficult night'' and believes a push for the League One play-offs is not beyond them.
He said: "It was a difficult night but we need to go away and learn from that, and try and re-establish momentum in our respective league and try and see if we can push on and attain a top-six spot with the 16 remaining games we have got.''