Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck believes that the key to overcoming Championship side Reading in the FA Cup semi-final is for the Gunners to focus on the game rather than the occasion, he told BBC Sport.
In their second successive semi-final and facing Championship opposition once again, Welbeck warned his teammates to expect a similar test to the one experienced again Wigan last year.
On that day, Per Mertesacker equalised in the dying moments to send the game into extra-time, with Arsenal eventually winning on penalties. Experience in a game where they were massive favourites will certainly prepare them for Saturday’s huge encounter.
“We’ve basically got to play the game, not the occasion,” Welbeck told Arsenal legend Martin Keown.
“The team was in this position last year, coming up against Wigan. It proved to be one of the toughest games of the season and coming up against Reading this Saturday will be another tough game and we’ve just got to approach it the right way and hopefully go through to the final.”
The FA Cup trophy is one medal missing from Welbeck’s collection having won the Premier League title in 2013 and he’ll be on a personal mission to put that right.
Welbeck has been named on the bench in recent weeks with Olivier Giroud in outstanding form. However, with his goal bringing Arsenal to this stage, it wouldn’t be a surprise to Wenger hand the former Man United man a start through the middle.