Revenge on Arsenal's mind tonight

Feb 16, 2014, 05:31 IST | AFP

Arsenal look to make amends for the hammering they received from Liverpool last weekend as the two teams face off in the FA Cup

London: Branded a "specialist in failure" by his Chelsea counterpart Jose Mourinho, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will hope his side prove otherwise when they host Liverpool in the FA Cup on Sunday.

A dejected Jack Wilshere of Arsenal after the loss to Liverpool on February 8 at Anfield. Pic/Getty Images
A dejected Jack Wilshere of Arsenal after the loss to Liverpool on February 8 at Anfield. Pic/Getty Images 

In characteristic style, Chelsea manager Mourinho accused Wenger of being a serial underachiever due to Arsenal's nine-year title drought.

Chelsea currently lead Arsenal by a point at the top of the table, with Manchester City and Liverpool in close pursuit, and with the four teams facing off in the cup this weekend, sparks seem set to fly.

Chasing a first trophy since their 2005 success in the FA Cup, Arsenal will not have to think long for motivation as the Londoners were thrashed 5-1 last weekend.

Wenger is confident that his players will be determined to restore pride after their capitulation seven days ago. "These guys are winners. When they lose in that way, believe me, they are hurt."

Chihuahuas of the race
Brendon Rodgers described Liverpool as the "chihuahuas" of the title race after 3-2 win against Fulham, on Wednsday, in a reference to a remark from Mourinho that Chelsea were the "little horse" to Arsenal and City's "stallions."

Rodgers, however, is reluctant to become further embroiled in the verbal sparring that looks set to characterise the final three months of the season.

"It is getting stupid now, isn't it?" he said on Friday. "It is probably more for the media, who will make more of it than it actually is.

Focus on players
"I focus on the players and let them do the talking on the field. It is the job of the manager to release the pressure on the players to go and perform."

Danish centre-back Daniel Agger will hope to start after making his return from a calf injury, with Kolo Toure's place potentially at risk after some high-profile blunders in recent matches.

Arsenal have doubts over Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla, who is ill, but French holding player Mathieu Flamini is in line to return following a three-match suspension.

With a home game against defending champions Bayern Munich in the Champions League next week, Wenger may elect to rotate his starting line-up and could rest striker Olivier Giroud.

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