Players deserve Cup win, says Wenger

Arsene Wenger insists winning the FA Cup on Saturday would be a triumph for Arsenal's late-season resurgence and not the flawless end to his time at the club.

Arsenal's Per Mertesacker has revealed he has no idea if he is fit enough to play in Saturday's FA Cup final against Chelsea but has had to prepare himself to do so.

"Would it be a nice farewell?"

The 31-year-old centre-back received his marching orders just 14 minutes into the Gunners' 3-1 win over Everton on the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday.

"I love to win and what I want is to do well for my club". "I don't know", said Wenger, downplaying the German international's chances.

"I think we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and see what's next for us".

"The team has given so much and they really want to win something this season", he said.

Welbeck has played at Wembley several times with England, Arsenal and former club Manchester United. Per Mertesacker was red carded for a lunge on Costa in the return match the following year - Wenger subsequently claiming the striker had been "clever".

There also remains uncertainty surrounding Wenger's future and whether Saturday's fixture at Wembley could be his last match as manager after 21 years at the club. "Usually the average life expectancy of a manager is 18 months so our total is quite unusual".

Arsenal are facing a defensive crisis heading into the FA Cup final after Gabriel Paulista was ruled out and Shkodran Mustafi remains doubtful, meaning Arsene Wenger may have to ditch his successful back-three formation for what could still be his last game in charge.

Mertesacker missed the first half of the season with injury and was then not selected by Wenger, but he will likely have to start on Saturday if Mustafi does not recover. It's absolutely unbelievable and unpredictable, and we have been hit hard in a position where we will need to be strong on Saturday.

Twenty-two people were killed by a suicide bomber at the Manchester Arena on Monday during a concert by American popstar Ariana Grande, while at least 64 more have been left injured.

  • Julie Sanders