Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal answered their critics with a “strong and united” performance as they beat Manchester City to reach a third FA Cup final in four years. Alexis Sanchez scored an extra-time winner as the Gunners came from behind to win 2-1 and reach a record 20th final – and an eighth under Wenger. “People questioned us, we went through tough times,” Wenger said.
“You can be divided or united and we have shown the right response.”
Wenger, 67, has come under more scrutiny this season than at any other time in his 21-year reign at Arsenal, with the Gunners lying in seventh place in the Premier League and on the receiving end of a 10-2 aggregate thrashing by Bayern Munich in the Champions League. The Frenchman is out of contract at the end of the season and has been offered a new two-year deal, although he is yet to announce whether he will continue. Some sections of Arsenal fans have protested against Wenger in recent months, but the manager was pleased to see his side rally after falling behind to Sergio Aguero’s opener.
“You know I feel the club is in a very strong shape, and that we have a very strong overall situation and a very strong team,” he said. “One day I will leave anyway so the most important thing is that Arsenal will always be a great club that everybody admires. “I felt it was a big test for us today, a mental test because many people question if we can turn up on an occasion like this.
“It was a very tight game but overall I think we deserved to win the game. The players showed great togetherness.” ‘Sanchez will be here next year’ Sanchez and Mesut Ozil have been linked with moves away from the club this summer, and the Chilean highlighted his importance with his 24th goal of the season which settled the tie.
Wenger expects the former Barcelona forward to extend his stay at the Emirates.
He said: “Alexis Sanchez was like the team. He had problems at the start and became stronger and stronger.
“He is an animal, always ready to kill the opponent. He will never give up.
“He will be here next year because he has a contract and hopefully we will manage to extend him.”
‘We’ll improve next season’. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he had no regrets after seeing his side beaten, a result which means the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss will end a season without a trophy for the first time in his coaching career, reports the BBC.
“We performed like we would want to in a final,” he said.
“We did absolutely everything. Congratulations to Arsenal. We’ll improve next season.
“We competed here, we had more chances but the finishing was like it has been throughout the season.”