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Wenger admits Arsenal were 'lucky' against Reading

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger accepted his side were "a bit lucky" after a fumble from Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici handed them a 2-1 extra-time victory and a place in the FA Cup final.

It was far from straightforward for Arsenal against Reading. Credit: PA

The Gunners will head back to Wembley on May 30 aiming to defend the trophy after edging past the Championship side, who had rallied after going behind just before half-time to a fine goal from Alexis Sanchez.

The Gunners will head back to Wembley on May 30 aiming to defend the trophy after edging past the Sky Bet Championship side, who had rallied after going behind just before half-time to a fine goal from Alexis Sanchez.

Reading drew level on 54 minutes when Garath McCleary's volley was deflected past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, who could only palm the ball back over the line.

In the end, an error from Australian Federici proved so costly, the keeper allowing a low, angled shot from Sanchez to slip through his legs and roll over the line on 115 minutes.

It was a difficult game against a well organised, resilient, committed and physically strong Reading team.

They really wanted it Reading, they were willing to die on the pitch to go to the final and you have to congratulate them for the effort they put in.

In the end, we were a bit lucky because their keeper made a mistake and I can understand that he is distraught, but as well he kept them in the game for long periods.

– Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger


Arsenal boss dismisses Klopp talk

Klopp has been linked with a move to the Premier League. Credit: PA

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger refused to add to the speculation over whether Jurgen Klopp will head to the Barclays Premier League at his Thursday morning press conference.

Klopp insisted on Wednesday that he had had no contact with any clubs, but stressed he did not plan to take an extended time-out from the game after announcing that he will end his seven-year spell at Borussia Dortmund in the summer.

The German has been installed as favourite to replace the under-fire Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City, but Wenger was keen not to add fuel to the fire when quizzed on the matter.

"I'm not an agency to place managers and I like every manager and respect everybody, but I find that circus a bit ridiculous," the Frenchman said.

On whether Klopp would suit Arsenal, Wenger said: "I already answered this question."

Wenger does not believe Dortmund players will necessarily look to follow the charismatic 47-year-old out of the Westfalenstadion.

"It's down to every club to make the right decision and to respect Dortmund," he said. "Dortmund is a massive club and will survive, and has the ability to keep their best players.

"They have a big history linked with great results and great achievements, so I don't think that will stop for Dortmund."

Coquelin brings balance to Arsenal, says Wenger

Coquelin was singled out for praise after Arsenal's win over Burnley Credit: PA

Arsene Wenger heaped praised on French midfielder Francis Coquelin following the Gunners' 1-0 win over Burnley on Saturday.

The result, courtesy of Aaron Ramsey's 12th-minute goal, moves Arsenal within four points of Premier League leaders Chelsea, who travel to QPR on Sunday.

He (Coquelin) showed quality in winning the ball and passing it quickly and he was very strong in the challenges.

He contributes well to the balance of the team and that's very difficult to measure.

The balance sometimes depends on one player who has some of the characteristics that others haven't got.

– Arsene Wenger


Arsenal dropped too many points early in season, says Wenger

Arsenal beat Liverpool 4-1 at the Emirates on Saturday Credit: PA

Arsenal's slow start to the season could have cost them a chance to snatch the Premier League title from Chelsea, says Arsene Wenger.

The Gunners demolished Liverpool 4-1 at the Emirates on Saturday, moving them to second in the table.

However, Wenger's men remain seven points behind Chelsea, who they host on April 26.

If there was 15 (league) games to go, you would not complain.

We had a very slow start this season, when we had many important players out together, and we dropped too many points.

We played six games in the Premier League and won two, after that you have a mountain to climb.

But now you can see that when we have everybody back, we can compete and the number of points we have made shows we have the quality to fight at the top.

For the title we need us to be perfect and Chelsea not to be perfect, so let's focus on what we can master which means our own performance.

– Arsene Wenger

Wenger defends Arsenal midfielder over nightclub visit

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has played down Mesut Ozil's trip to a Berlin nightclub, saying the playmaker was only there for half an hour to wish his friend a happy birthday.

It had been reported Ozil spent longer there, less than 24 hours after missing Arsenal's win over Newcastle through illness.

Mesut Ozil missed a game when he was in Berlin. Credit: PA

"He went out for half an hour to a birthday for his friend to wish him well," the Arsenal manager said on Thursday morning.

"You can't stop someone wishing happy birthday to a friend!"

Wenger: Arsenal getting stronger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. Credit: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes his side are proving themselves a "different team" as the Premier League season run-in approaches after seeing off the challenge of West Ham 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners recorded an eighth home league victory to keep the pressure up on second-placed Manchester City after finally ending what was a spirited second-half effort from the Irons.

"We just have to keep going. We have won eight of the last nine and we are stronger today than we were at the start of the season," Wenger said.

"We dropped off in this league because we won one of six at the start of the season. Today we are a different team.

"We suffered a lot from the post-World Cup fixtures, players came back and they weren't ready to play."

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