Arsene Wenger insists the FA Cup remains a big-time attraction to Arsenal despite considering a string of changes to his side on Sunday.
The Frenchman claims the competition has always been one of his priorities and revealed even his quest of the holy grail – the Champions League – has suffered as a result.
Wenger is likely to make changes to the side that started the 2-1 against Leicester on Tuesday.
Alexis Sanchez will be rested after taking a heavy blow to the knee against the Foxes, while new-signing Gabriel is likely to start in place of Per Mertesacker or Laurent Koscielny.
Wojciech Szczesny will start in place of David Ospina, Kieran Gibbs could replace Nacho Monreal at left-back, while Jack Wilshere could make his return to action following a four month injury lay-off.
Nevertheless, Wenger insists the cup holders are, as always taking the competition seriously.
‘It is important to us and we have always taken it seriously,’ said Wenger.
‘We did not always manage to win it, but we have won it five times during my period here. Nobody has won it more in the last 18 years, so we have always taken it seriously.
‘Sometimes so seriously that we suffered in the Champions League after. Many times a cup game was in front of a Champions League game – for instance this week we play in the cup and then next week in the Champions League.
‘Many times we lost some players. I remember against Manchester United when we played against Chelsea in the Champions League three days later we lost some because we took the game seriously.’
Meanwhile, Wenger is concerned Gabriel’s lack of English could provide his side with a major defensive obstacle at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
The January signing from Villareal has been taking three language lessons a week to ensure he is able to communicate sooner rather than later.
‘It is a problem,’ admitted Wenger.
‘When you don’t speak English and you don’t understand “Come out, come back, right left” it is a problem for a defender.
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