sport

Vermaelen: Cup victory vital

Thomas Vermaelen admitted Arsenal's FA Cup semi-final victory over Wigan was crucial to the club's hopes of a successful finish to the season.

Belgium defender Vermaelen felt the Gunners' 4-2 penalty shoot-out victory over Wigan at Wembley, after the tie finished 1-1 in normal time, was evidence of the belligerent spirit in the camp.

France Under-21 striker Yaya Sanogo wasted a hatful of chances to put Arsenal out of sight before Jordi Gomez handed Wigan the lead from the spot.

Per Mertesacker headed Arsenal level before the game meandered to penalties, where goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski pulled off two saves to seal victory.

"There was a lot of talk about needing the result for a few different reasons, for the manager and showing we could fight and I think we did that," said Vermaelen.

"It will give us a boost for the rest of the season now, we can move forward with confidence.

"I'm very happy that we'll go to the final, that's why you play these games of course.

"It was a long game with extra-time and penalties, it's never easy but it's a good win."