Arsenal could have the confidence to go on and win the UEFA Champions League if they can knock out German giants Bayern Munich in the last 16, according to manager Arsene Wenger. The Gunners host Blackburn Rovers in the fifth round of the FA Cup tomorrow, just a few days before the first leg of their European clash against Bayern at the Emirates Stadium.
Bayern were runners-up to Chelsea last season and are currently 15 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga, having not lost since 28 October. They have returned from the winter break with four straight league wins.
Wenger feels should his men come through such a challenge, then just like Chelsea, confidence would grow of a first European Cup triumph. "We have a big game on Tuesday against Bayern. If we get past them, then why should we not go further and win it?" Wenger said this morning.
"It looks at the start that (winning) the FA Cup is more reachable than any other competition, but you don't really know how difficult it will be. If you compare it to the Premier League certainly, we have more chances to do it because we are too far away in the Premier League."
Despite the obvious draw of next week's prestigious European fixture, Wenger maintains his side will be fully focused to see off the challenge of Blackburn and secure safe passage into the quarter-finals of the world's oldest knockout competition.
"The FA Cup is an important target for us. We always take it very seriously, we're on a good run and we want to continue the run," said Wenger, whose side have closed back up on the Premier League top four after back-to-back victories. "We are the favourites, they're the outsiders, and have nothing to lose. However, if you look at who is in the squad, many of their players have Premier League experience, that is why they are dangerous."
Arsenal have fitness concerns over England midfielder Jack Wilshere, who went off at Sunderland last week as a precaution over a thigh problem. Wenger said: "I will not take a risk. [That is because of] the rest of the season in mind and what happened to him before."
Captain Thomas Vermaelen should be back from his ankle problem, but fellow defender Laurent Koscielny (calf) will be assessed. Côte d'Ivoire forward Gervinho could be back in contention following the CAF Africa Cup of Nations. "We will play a team who has a good chance to go through with experienced players," said Wenger. "We only have big names in our squad, so it will be a team of big names, for sure."