London (AFP) – Danny Welbeck admits that Arsenal’s season will still be a disappointing one even if they win the FA Cup final.
The Gunners missed out on Champions League qualification for the first time in two decades when they finished fifth in the Premier League.
Arsenal take on champions Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday in the final of a competition they won in 2014 and again in 2015.
“It’s really disappointing not to get the top four,” Welbeck said. “The way the season has gone, for the club, fans, players, staff it hasn’t been the greatest season. We have the opportunity to make it a little bit better this weekend.
“We’ve got the opportunity to play in the final and win a trophy. That’s a positive, but the league position doesn’t make up for that.”
The England striker, 26, was still at Manchester United when Arsenal won in 2014 and missed the 2015 final because of injury.
Fitness problems have continued to hamper him, with a foot injury having limited game time since he returned from a serious knee injury in January.
“I feel like I’m coping pretty well and have had no major reaction with my knee,” he said.
“It’s just a little niggle here and there with my foot and my big toe. That’s the thing that has been putting me out of the team at the moment.
“Obviously in the future I hope I will be playing three games in a week. It’s just a bruise on the bottom of my foot so every time I’m running on it it repeatedly is banging on the bruise.”
Victory over Chelsea would ease the pressure on manager Arsene Wenger, who is likely to sign a new two-year contract afterwards at a time when a significant proportion of the fanbase has decided it is time for the Frenchman to step down.
“We want to do it for the manager but we want to do it for ourselves as well, as a team and for the fans,” Welbeck said. “As professionals we want to win the trophy and bring it home.”
Another man whose Emirates Stadium future is Alexis Sanchez, who has another year on his current deal and is wanted by Bayern Munich and Manchester City.
Welbeck was keen for the Chile forward to stay. “It’s obvious to see how important he is for the team with his great ability on the pitch and also off it with his attitude,” he said. “It’s not great to lose your best players.”