Arsenal news

Wenger bemoans fixture pile-up

February 21, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Arsene Wenger admitted a sense of frustration that Arsenal failed to kill off Leyton Orient in Sunday's FA Cup encounter, and he confessed he is concerned by an increasingly congested fixture list.

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Arsenal were pegged back by an 89th minute equaliser from Jonathan Tehoue at Brisbane Road, after Tomas Rosicky had given the Gunners the lead. Wenger did his best not to detract from Orient's achievement, but he could not hide his frustration.

"We have played the game with the right attitude and could not fault our fighting spirit, but you also have to give credit to Leyton Orient because they never gave up and fought very hard," Wenger told ESPN.

"As long as you do not score the second goal, that can happen. Overall it is a disappointment, but we are still in the competition and will now play at home. The most important thing is to go through. You had a match against a team which is technically superior, but fighting spirit has a chance."

Wenger continued: "The most negative side of our result today is one more fixture and in fairness that is not what we needed. We have had problems in the cups against teams from the lower divisions to finish them off, but also we have given a lot. Sometimes, mentally, a breather would not be bad.

"What people forget is that since the beginning of December, we have played every three days, so sometimes to have a week where we could give the players a little breather would not be bad."

Yet Wenger did not begrudge Orient their big night at the Emirates.

"It will make their budget for the season, if not more, and to scrap that off would be a blow to all the smaller clubs in England. They suffer already, so you would not have a lot of supporters to do that (the idea of scrapping replays)."