Pires believes FA Cup success would boost Arsenal

Robert Pires
Former Arsenal star Robert Pires believes an FA Cup win would improve Arsenal's morale. Photo: PA

Former Arsenal star Robert Pires believes the psychological impact of ending a near decade's trophy quest in Saturday's FA Cup final would make a huge difference to the current squad.

The pressure will all be on the Gunners when they tackle Hull at Wembley on Saturday afternoon, with them desperate to avoid ending another promising campaign empty-handed.

Pires - who won the Premier League twice and three FA Cup finals as Wenger's side swept all before them at the turn of the Millennium - feels the current squad can only get better once they have proven themselves as winners.

"For the fans, for the club, for the board, for Arsene Wenger, the final is very important," said the 40-year-old French World Cup winner.

"It is very important psychologically because every player knows it is very hard to win any title, especially after a long time.

"Everybody at Arsenal knows big pressure is on the shoulders of the players because we need to win, to concentrate and focus.

"But they must keep focused on the final, it is not an easy game.

"We won 3-0 (at Hull) a few weeks ago, but the Premier League and FA Cup final is totally different."

Pires took time to settle into life at Arsenal after a £6million move from Marseille in 2000, but the following season would be voted the Football Writers Association Footballer of the Year for 2001-02.

Parallels are often drawn with Mesut Ozil, who has at times struggled for consistency following a club-record £42.5million move on deadline day last September.

Pires, though, feels Ozil will now have become accustomed to the hustle and bustle of top-flight football in England.

"I like Ozil. He is a very good player, with quality," Pires said.

"When you come to England, it is very difficult because the football is completely different.

"For me, it was very difficult for six or seven months. When I see Mesut, I say he has had a good first Premier League season, and next season, he will be much better.

"After six or seven months, it gets easier."

Wenger has yet to sign a new contract for next season but is expected to stay at the Emirates Stadium, having safely taken the club back into the Champions League qualifiers once again.

Pires said: "I know Arsene Wenger. Sometimes you need to take your time over a decision. He knows Arsenal, the team, the squad, all the players. He knows he has very good quality.

"I think he will stay. If he wins the FA Cup, it's very good for him and for the spirit and the minds of all the players. I think he will stay for next season."