Wenger relief at Arsenal victory

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted he was relieved after his side booked their place in the FA Cup final thanks to a penalty shootout win over holders Wigan Athletic, BBC Sport has reported.

The Gunners will now face either Hull City or Sheffield United, who meet on Sunday, for the chance to win their first silverware since 2005.

The first half was a largely forgettable affair, with few chances at either end, but the Championship side would take the lead shortly after the hour mark with Jordi Gomez converting from the spot following a rash challenge by Per Mertesacker on Callum McManaman.

However, Mertesacker redeemed himself for his error by heading past Scott Carson for the goal which forced extra time, where neither side could make the breakthrough. In the shootout, Wigan duo Gary Caldwell and Jack Collison both missed, allowing Santi Cazorla to net Arsenal’s fourth successive spot-kick to seal victory.

And after an unconvincing performance, Wenger was relieved his team managed to get over the line. He said: “I am relieved because we were under great pressure. I expected a difficult game and I was not disappointed.

“Wigan were very impressive, well-organised and physically very strong but we were at the level of mental strength I expected. It was important we didn’t go out tonight because the consequence of it would have been quite worrying.

“Wigan showed why they knocked out Manchester City in the quarter-final, and for a period we had everything against us, but we showed some character, resilience and nerve to do it.”

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