Wenger confirms Szczesny as No1
© Getty Images

Arsene Wenger today confirmed Wojciech Szczesny is Arsenal's No1 but challenged fit-again Manuel Almunia to reclaim the role, starting against Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup on Sunday.

Almunia, 33, has not played since the end of September when he injured his elbow saving a penalty in the home defeat against West Bromwich Albion, and then suffered an ankle problem when he was close to a return.

In the Spaniard's absence, Lukasz Fabianski, who has since picked up a shoulder injury, and then Szczesny impressed when stepping in between the posts. Almunia has had offers to leave during January, from both Spain and Turkey, but could yet stay and battle to win his place back.

"At the moment Wojciech is number one," Wenger said. "He has done nothing for me to take him out, but I can rotate the goalkeepers. In the cups I play sometimes different goalkeepers as well."

Wenger paid tribute to Almunia's dedication: "He is under contract and as long as he is at the club we are happy to have him," the Arsenal manager said. "I like him as a man and as a player and I have shown that in my decisions. I am happy that he is here. But Almunia has not played for a long, long time. I don't feel that any player is happy not to play."

While Wenger will again rotate against the League One side, with the likes of centre-back Sebastien Squillaci, midfielder Abou Diaby and winger Tomas Rosicky all in contention to start, the Arsenal manager has warned against any complacency.

"One thing with the fact we are involved in the four competitions is that we need a super-realistic approach and focus on the next game, just try to win it," he said. "You build the confidence in the team slowly and you lose it very quickly. One big, bad result and you are down very quickly.

"So it is important to keep our feet on the ground and to show we have learned from Leeds and Ipswich how difficult these games are. We are on a good run and feel we have a good confidence level and a good attitude in the whole squad. We are getting stronger and stronger, so that is what we want to do."

At the moment Wojciech is number one. He has done nothing for me to take him out.
Arsene Wenger on Wojciech Szczesny.

The Gunners boss, though, played down any suggestions of delivering the quadruple just yet.

"What is good is that we are involved in all competitions and we are hungry to do as well as we can. What can we do? We don't know. But we are hungry and have the desire to do as well as we can."

With the return of Squillaci and Thomas Vermaelen expected to return in around six weeks, Wenger believes there is enough cover in the centre of defence, but will still look to bring in a "special player" if one emerges.

However, the Gunners boss also revealed there was "no news" on the attempts to secure a deal for Southampton's highly-rated teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Former Arsenal manager Herbert Chapman, who helped transform the north London club in the 1930s, guided the Terriers to consecutive league titles in 1924 and 1925, with the Yorkshire side going on to win a third straight crown without him in 1926.

Wenger is in no doubt what the Arsenal of today owe the innovator, who introduced floodlights, the use of physios, shirt numbers as well as the famous 'WM' 3-2-2-3 formation.

"We are a modern club, but have as well a big respect for tradition," said the French coach, who himself has transformed the club's fortunes over 13 seasons. This cup tie has a special meaning because Chapman was the most influential manager at this club and so we have big respect for that. We can name Chapman as a super pioneer because he really has turned this club into the modern era. He was ahead of his time and he was certainly the most influential manager."