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Arsenal looking to snap Bolton FA Cup jinx

Arsenal looking to snap Bolton FA Cup jinx

Arsenal came from behind to beat Premier League leader Manchester United a week after knocking Liverpool out of both English cup competitions with resounding victories at Anfield.
Now, the Gunners just need to get past Bolton.
Despite the big wins over United and Liverpool, victory against fifth-place Bolton in Sunday's FA Cup fourth-round game at the Emirates Stadium is no certainty.
Arsenal has lost three straight FA Cup meetings against the Wanderers since a 2-1 second-round win at Highbury on Jan. 8, 1983.
Three-time winner Bolton will be looking for its own piece of history: it could be the only team to win the cup in the first game played at the old Wembley and new Wembley, which is scheduled to host the final on May 19.
"It is not beyond us, " Bolton manager Sam Allardyce said. "We seem to be drawn to each other in the FA Cup. They are in superb form as they showed against Liverpool in the last round."
It won't be easy against a side that has only lost once in its last 14 in all competitions.
"To be at home in the cup is a minor advantage but still we want to win at the end," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said Friday. "We want to be one of the first to be at Wembley but I feel at the moment what is important for us is to keep our winning run. Bolton are one of the contenders but it is down to us to stop them."
Also Sunday, Nottingham Forest will hope to take advantage of turmoil at Chelsea, with Jose Mourinho's future at Stamford Bridge still in doubt despite the Portuguese manager leading his side to the League Cup final.
"I just cannot understand why Mourinho is being attacked _ particularly from within our own club," Chelsea striker Didier Drogba told The Sun newspaper. "How could I not be behind someone who always supported me, who has helped me win trophies and put Chelsea at the top of English football? He brought a culture of winning."
Drogba and captain John Terry have already said they could follow Mourinho should he leave the club he has guided to two-straight Premier League titles.
"There are tensions, we cannot prevent them," Drogba said. "It is clear to the players that our bad results have only one explanation: the poor atmosphere around the club. It's not rocket science or a big secret. Clearly it's a very difficult period."
A figure of tension for Mourinho has been underachieving striker Andriy Shevchenko, who finally made an impact by scoring twice in the 4-0 League Cup semifinal win over League Two side Wycombe on Tuesday.
"He needed the performance more than the goals," Mourinho said. "He had the effort, the commitment, the aggressiveness and the desire _ all the ingredients that we want in our players, plus the quality for scoring goals he has. Now it is all much better and I believe in the future."
United manager Alex Ferguson will be rooting for Chelsea to set up a potential semifinal or final matchup with the Red Devils.
"If one of us is in the semifinal, the Chelsea (league) game would be on the Tuesday before the last game of the season," he said. "I would be delighted for it to go down to that."
Ferguson believes his side will rebound for its match against Portsmouth at Old Trafford on Sunday after surrendering two goals in the last seven minutes of the 2-1 league defeat at Arsenal that would have put it nine points clear of second-place Chelsea.
"Maybe when we are in winning positions we relax and take our foot off the pedal a little bit," Ferguson said. "Against Arsenal it was a lack of concentration. We were in a winning position and we were all gutted. But, in terms of the stamina side of it, (that is) absolute nonsense."
The record 11-time FA Cup winner heads into the match knowing Real Madrid is ready to lure winger Cristiano Ronaldo in a potential 35 million pounds (euro53 million; US$69 million) move.
"Great players are always welcome at Real Madrid _ and Ronaldo is a fantastic player," former United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy said. "United won't give up Ronaldo very easily, definitely not. But it's also in the player's hands."
In Saturday's other matches involving Premier League clubs, American midfielder Clint Dempsey could start for the first time for Fulham against Stoke, Bristol City plays Middlesbrough, Luton hosts Blackburn, Southend travels to Tottenham, and West Ham plays Watford.
In Sunday's other game, Manchester City plays League Championship side Southampton.


Updated : 2021-04-22 03:29 GMT+08:00