Arsenal news

Wilshere: Teams scared of Emirates

January 7, 2011

Jack Wilshere feels teams are "scared'' of being ripped apart by Arsenal at Emirates Stadium, but has warned his team-mates not to "do anything silly'' in Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie against Championship promotion hopefuls Leeds.

Jack Wilshere
GettyImagesJack Wilshere has not played for Arsenal since July 2011

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has already indicated he will rotate the squad after what has been a draining Christmas schedule of four matches in the space of 10 days.

Arsenal remain very much in the Premier League title race following Wednesday night's frustrating goalless draw against rivals Manchester City. However, they could have been closer to leaders Manchester United, who have a match in hand, after they hit the woodwork twice in the first half and Robin van Persie was also later denied by a fine save from England number one Joe Hart.

City boss Roberto Mancini was not bothered by chants of "boring, boring'' from the home support after his expensively-assembled team failed to muster a single shot on target, but nevertheless left with a point which keeps them in second place.

England midfielder Wilshere, likely to be one of several first-team regulars rested against Leeds, believes such an approach is actually testament to Arsenal, who thumped Chelsea 3-1 on December 27.

"We just have to learn to break teams down. City's approach was a credit to us and the way we play. Teams come here and they are scared and want to defend,'' he said.

"There are going to be a lot of teams who come here and defend and we have to learn to break them down.''

Wilshere continued: "Leeds will bring loads of supporters and they'll be up for it, so we have to make sure we are up for it, not do anything silly and hopefully progress to the next round.''

Arsenal host United at the end of April, in what could yet be a decisive fixture.

Wilshere said: "We have got a point towards catching them and they have still got to come here, so it's still really open. When they come here, we can beat them.''

Arsenal also have the first leg of their Carling Cup semi-final at Ipswich next week.

With goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, centre-back Thomas Vermaelen and midfielder Abou Diaby all on the road to recovery out of an uncharacteristically sparse treatment room, Wenger does not want to take any chances by overloading the rest of his team.

There will be at least enforced change as Bacary Sagna starts a three-match suspension after Wenger confirmed there would be no appeal against the right-back's needless red card for a clash with Pablo Zabaleta.

Emmanuel Eboue is a ready-made replacement, while fit again England defender Kieran Gibbs, having now recovered from his latest ankle injury problem, should come in on the left and young midfielder Aaron Ramsey could also feature after his return from a productive loan spell at Nottingham Forest.

"We will rotate. There are going to be changes, many changes,'' Wenger confirmed. "I will certainly rest van Persie and maybe [Samir] Nasri.''

Wenger added: "It will be another big game - you know the third round of the FA Cup is always very tricky.

"We need to swallow our frustration from the Man City match and quickly focus again for Saturday.''