Seething Arsene Wenger May Sacrifice FA Cup in Arsenal's Search for the Title

Brian RhodesSenior Analyst IJanuary 5, 2010

ATHENS, GREECE - DECEMBER 09:  Arsene Wenger the Arsenal Manager looks on during the UEFA Champions League Group H match between Olympiakos and Arsenal at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium on December 9, 2009 in Athens, Greece.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

It is rumored that Le Professeur has been left seething at Independent Television (ITV) in England after the broadcaster took the option to move the Stoke City vs. Arsenal FA Cup tie to Sunday, Jan. 24.

What has left Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger furious is that this will leave his Arsenal team only three days rather than four to prepare for the all-important clash, away at Aston Villa's Villa Park, and he may field a young side for the FA Cup clash. 

The Frenchman has the prospect of the FA Cup tie, followed by Aston Villa, Manchester United, Chelsea, and then Liverpool, in the space of 18 days. A daunting task for any team, but to have the FA Cup date altered has made it even more difficult.

Wenger was most angered by the fact that this comes after a congested fixture list over the Christmas and New Year period.

This had already angered the French manager of the Gunners, but his club had a rare free week in which to prepare for the pivotal period in the Gunners' season. However, because of the change in scheduling, his plans have been thwarted.

Added to Wenger's misery is the fact that his influential skipper Cesc Fabregas has had a minor setback in his recovery from injury that will put his return back possibly two more weeks.

Wenger has previously fielded young and dynamic sides in cup competitions but feels that the scheduling and Manchester United's early exit will help them in the title race and the Champions League.

"It is not so much for the title race that Manchester United have an advantage not to go through. It is more in the Champions League that it is a little bit conflicting with the FA Cup," said Wenger.

"When you look at the fifth round, it is just before a Champions League game and before that, we all play in midweek.

"At the moment, it is not an advantage for Manchester United in the Premier League, but in the Champions League it can become a little advantage."