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Arsenal forward claims missing out on top four would be “disastrous”

"When you don't play in the Champions League, it's a disaster."

Lukas Podolski insists that the Gunners need Champions League football next season in addition to an FA Cup victory

Arsenal scraped past Wigan on Saturday as they booked their place in the 2014 FA Cup final, with the London side looking to win their first piece of silverware since 1995.

It’s been a long old wait for Arsene Wenger’s team although arguably the primary focus remains finishing in the top four of the Premier League ahead of Everton, with the Gunners facing West Ham on Tuesday for a chance to leapfrog the Toffees.

Lukas Podolski insists it will be a “disaster” if Arsenal fail to continue their long tradition of qualifying for Europe’s premier club competition, with the Gunners challenging at the top of the table earlier this term before dropping away after Christmas.

“Every season is a pressure when you don’t win anything and the newspapers speak about it, the fans gets nervous but we have the chance this year to win the FA Cup so maybe it helps the club, us and the boss,” said Podolski.

“But the other important thing is to get fourth place back because when you don’t play in the Champions League, it’s a disaster.

“Last season was the same. People and the newspapers speak about the last trophy being 2005 so of course, the pressure is there because we were in the semi-final and we have this chance to win the cup.

“We are now in the final and of course we want the cup, but the other important thing is the league. We don’t forget that because we are fifth now, so it’s important to get fourth place back.

“But as I say, the important thing is the league as well. We don’t forget the league because we are fifth now, we are not qualified for the Champions League, so we must do our work on the pitch – starting on Tuesday and this is an important thing.”

All odds were correct at time of posting.