Wenger focuses on title after cup romp
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger turned his attention back to the English Premier League title race immediately after defeating Leyton Orient to seal a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Wednesday.
The Gunners were the beneficiaries of Chelsea's win over Manchester United on Tuesday, as their game in hand and meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson's team mean their destiny is in their own hands. "For us, it keeps us even better in the race," Wenger said.
"I felt anyway, no matter what happened (in United's clash), whether it was a draw, would have been good as well. It just depends on us. It's down to our results. I say that for a long time, it depends how consistent we will be with our results. That will decide the championship."
Wenger's side face Sunderland at the weekend and warmed up for that clash by thrashing League One team Orient in the Cup, with Nicklas Bendtner scoring a hat-trick. It went some way to getting over the disappointment of losing to Birmingham in the League Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.
They now face title rivals United in the next round at Old Trafford. "We were professional," Bendtner said. "After the disappointment of Sunday it was important for us. We know its going to be difficult against United but we very much look forward to that game when it comes. We just need to focus on Sunderland first."
Next week Arsenal also play the second leg of their UEFA Champions League clash against Barcelona, taking a 2-1 lead to the Nou Camp. Robin van Persie is set to miss that match as he is out for three to four weeks with a knee injury.
Tomas Rosicky suffered mild concussion against Orient but should recover, and there is optimism of Cesc Fabregas overcoming his hamstring complaint. "I personally hope he will be there next Tuesday," Wenger said. "He has a chance to play in Barcelona. "I don't think he will be involved on Saturday - no chance. But we will try with him on Sunday and Monday and have a final test on Monday morning. We go from day to day."
Orient manager Russell Slade praised Wenger for getting the best out of his players after suffering disappointment at Wembley - Marouane Chamakh and Gael Clichy were the other scorers. "It was a hard night, we found a side in good form with a real strong focus and a spot-on attitude," Slade said. "Mr Wenger got the performance from his players.
"They were ruthless with the first three goals. Three attacks, three opportunities and three goals. But I was proud of the way we kept the ball and kept passing. We need to go away and learn from that and establish some momentum in the league and try to push and see if we can attain a top-six spot. I think we can do that."