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Wenger airs Wembley worries

17 Apr 2009 16:54:01

Wenger airs Wembley worries

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is hoping that the new Wembley will be able to capture the magic of the old ground. With Arsenal's impending FA Cup semi-final clash against Chelsea on Saturday, Wenger will lead his side out for a Wembley tie for the first time since the competition moved back from the Millennium Stadium in 2007. However, without the first-hand experience of managing a side at England's national stadium, the Frenchman admits that he was not overwhelmed on his initial visit for the FA Cup final that year. "I loved the old Wembley, and I was not too impressed by the new Wembley," said the four-time FA Cup-winning manager. "I was only there as a spectator at the first FA Cup final between Chelsea and Manchester United. "Maybe I will have a completely different impression this time, I was only a spectator - I was not behind the scenes in the stadium or on the pitch." Wembley has already suffered much-publicised problems with cost, timescale and location in its brief history, but it is the quality of the pitch and atmosphere that most concerns a footballing man such as Wenger. The groundsmen and designers came in for heavy criticism shortly after the stadium's opening, and, amidst the improving quality of club grounds, Wembley has so far failed to recover its celebrated reputation. "Historically as a boy, we always played on bad grounds, so the dream of everybody was to play on the marvellous grass and pitch of Wembley," added Wenger. "When I heard they had problems with the pitch, that was a big disappointment because you always felt you wanted to play at Wembley as there was something special on the pitch there. "If that is not there any more, then it is a little bit disappointing. "I expect a good pitch, but the noises I get are not as convincing as the former pitch. The former pitch was really something special." But even if the atmosphere is not the same, Wenger has vowed to try and excite the fans with his side's fast-paced attacking game which he hopes will overcome the Blues. "You know how we play. We will not sit back and wait for Chelsea to make the game. We will go in there and try to dictate the game," said Wenger. "I don't expect Chelsea to fear us, I just expect them to play a good game. "I expect us, with the needed confidence we have built up, to go into this game firing on all cylinders and play with the passion, hunger and happiness we have shown in every single game."


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