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Arsene Wenger: Arsenal Need A Breather

Gunners boss believes fixture pile-up could harm chances of bringing trophies to the Emirates.

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits his team need a break as Leyton Orient forced an FA Cup replay adding to the Gunners’ already packed fixture list.

Jonathan Tehoue’s late equaliser for the League One club ensured Arsenal now face a season defining five games in 14 days.

Arsenal have now played 42 matches this season and if they win the quadruple could face up to 23 more.

The next fortnoight is crucial for the Gunners who host Stoke City on Wednesday then play Birmingham in the Carling Cup final on 27 February before playing a replay against Orient on 2 March.

Arsenal then play a league game against Sunderland on 5 March and the second leg of their Champions League tie with Barcelona three days later.

If Arsenal were to win the Leyton Orient replay they would then face a trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on the weekend of 12/13 March.

But Wenger, while admitting his worry over the fixture congestion, was pleased with the performance of his players.

“Since December, we’ve played every three days,” Wenger said. “Sometimes to have a week where we could give the players a little breather would not be bad.”

“We have played the game with the right attitude and could not fault our fighting spirit but you also have to give credit to Leyton Orient because they never gave up and fought very hard.”

“As long as you do not score the second goal, that can happen.

“Overall it is a disappointment but we are still in the competition and will now play at home.

“The most important thing is to go through.

“We have had problems in the cups against teams from the lower divisions to finish them off, but also we have given a lot.”

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