BRIGHTON, United Kingdom (AFP) – Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says his side have been strengthened by their victory over Manchester City last weekend, as they continue their FA Cup defence at Brighton and Hove Albion.
The north London club travel to Championship outfit Brighton on Sunday, seven days on from their superb 2-0 win over Premier League champions City at the Etihad Stadium.
Wenger believes that landmark success — Arsenal’s first away win against either City, Manchester United or Chelsea since October 2011 — will allow his side to become better as the season progresses.
“We had a very controlled performance with a great solidarity and a great togetherness — that’s always a very good basis,” said the Frenchman.
“Everybody contributed with hard work, great work-rate. Can we keep that focus on our qualities and improve our technical level? We can only get stronger.
“What happened over the weekend helps the team to strengthen our confidence, of course. I think the attitude of the players since the start of the season, on their desire to do well and their solidarity, has been extremely good. “The basics have not changed. We certainly have more belief and more strength in our belief.”
Arsenal travelled to the Amex Stadium at the same stage of the competition two years ago and required a late Theo Walcott goal to secure a 3-2 victory.
And Wenger is well aware of the challenge that Chris Hughton’s men will pose on the English south coast.
“It’s always difficult in the Championship away from home and we remember Brighton from two years ago,” Wenger said. “Chris Hughton will give them his experience and his competence, of course. He knows how to prepare a team for a challenge like that.”
Sunday’s tie is Hughton’s fifth game in charge of Brighton since he replaced Sami Hyypia as manager.
The former Newcastle United and Norwich City manager wants his side to be defensively sound against the Premier League big boys, but believes they can cause Arsenal problems at the other end of the pitch. Brighton have received a double fitness boost with Craig Mackail-Smith and Jake Forster-Caskey back in contention after ankle and hip injuries respectively.