Wenger delighted to be returning to Wembley

Saturday, 12, April, 2014
The Arsenal players celebrate Per Mertesacker's goal

Arsene Wenger admits he’s delighted to have booked another date at the national stadium after seeing his side come out on top in an enthralling game at Wembley.

Arsenal had to come back from a goal behind and then survived the lottery of penalties to book a place in the FA Cup Final on 17 May.

The Gunners boss said afterward that it meant a great deal to him to be a part of that final.

“We’ve not been here for such a long time and I’m happy that we can come back mid May” said Wenger, “We will of course fight very hard to get what we want but we have seen today that we need top level concentration.”

Wigan took Arsenal all the way in Saturday’s first semi-final and lead the game for 20 minutes of the second half before Per Mertesacker’s equaliser.

Wenger believes it was character that saw the Gunners through in the end.

“Spirit wise we were on the expected level” said the Frenchman. “We needed spirit, we went 1-0 down and we came back.

“We needed to be absolutely strong on the mental front and I’m happy that we responded like that. We’ve gone through a very difficult week after last Sunday and we showed a good response.”

Wenger’s centre-half Per Mertesacker went from villain to hero in the space of 20 minutes.

Having given away the penalty which saw Jordi Gomez give the Championship side the lead, the German then popped up with Arsenal’s equaliser with eight minutes left on the clock.

Wenger feels that righting the wrong of his earlier challenge would have been very important to Mertesacker.

“It meant a lot to Per but he’s a fantastic character and that’s the best response he could give after the penalty.”

As well as Mertesacker Wenger also reserved special praise for his goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski who booked Arsenal’s final spot with two excellent saves in the shoot-out.

“It was important to start well and our keeper got our confidence level in a very good way and after that we were very professional.”