Kingston upon Hull - Arsene Wenger will take stock of
Arsenal's mounting injury problems after the FA Cup holders' progress to the
quarter-finals came at a cost.
Aaron Ramsey, Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista were all
substituted during the comfortable 4-0 victory at Championship side Hull City
that stretched the Gunners' three-year unbeaten record in the competition.
Retaining the FA Cup for a third season looks to be
Arsenal's best hope of silverware in a season where Wenger has again come under
attack for his side's failings in their efforts to win the Premier League for
the first time in 12 years.
They trail surprise leaders Leicester City by eight points,
and face elimination from the Champions League going into Tuesday's return leg
against Barcelona, where they trail the last 16 tie 2-0 from the first meeting
at the Emirates Stadium last month.
Arsenal host Premier League rivals Watford on Sunday to
contest a place in the last four of the FA Cup at Wembley Stadium in April.
But Wenger admits he first faces a head count after the
latest unwanted additions to an injury list that was into double figures before
his side strolled to an easy win at the KC Stadium, with the likes of Petr
Cech, Laurent Koscielny and Santi Cazorla already ruled out.
Deflecting questions over a banner unfurled among the 2,500
travelling Arsenal supporters which read 'thanks for the memories Arsene but
it's time to go', the Frenchman said: "The injuries came as a shock.
Mertesacker is just a cut on his eye and Gabriel is a thigh problem which
should hopefully be fine.
"Ramsey is a thigh problem and he looks to be the most
serious of the injuries tonight. We'll know more in the next day or so."
Also read: Ahmed Musa prefers Arsenal to Leicester City
French forward Olivier Giroud celebrated becoming a father
for the second time by scoring twice to end a near two-month goal drought as
Arsenal emerged victorious for a 15th consecutive FA Cup tie in a one-sided
fifth round replay.
England international Theo Walcott added two late goals as
the Gunners avoided a sixth game without a victory, which would have been their
worst run for 18 years.
"It's not disappointing for me. I do my job, look at
the history, I have nothing to be scared of. I don't want to speak about that,
it's always the same story," Wenger, now in his 20th year in charge,
added, brushing off the fans' protest.
"Judge this season after the season is finished. I'm
amazed people tell me how this season has been before it is over. We have not
given up anywhere. I believe this club has been in a much worse position. You
know what happens in football. It's on to the next game."
Steve Bruce admitted the result was a reminder of the
quality of opposition Hull hope to come up against on a regular basis in the
Premier League, as his side focus their attention on attempting to return to
the top flight at the first time of asking following relegation to the
Championship last season.
They are well-placed to seal a third promotion in eight
years, and Bruce, a three-time FA Cup winner as a player with Manchester
United, said: "It's a harsh lesson, and we've not helped ourselves by
making mistakes, too.
"It's a gentle reminder of how good the Premier League
can be because they were clinical tonight."For
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