The fact that Arsene Wenger is the longest serving manager in the Premier League is often used as a stick to beat Arsenal with, especially during those lean years without a trophy while the Frenchman’s funds were severely restricted and other clubs like Chelsea and Man City were throwing money around like Richard Pryor in Brewster’s Millions.
The fact that the same reporters and TV pundits go all po-faced and talk about the sad state of the modern game when anyother club sacks a manager just goes to highlight the hypocrisy in the football media but that is an argument for another day and I seem to have gone way off track here, so…
My point was that our manager has a mountain of experience to draw on and I think that is why he was very circumspect in his pre match press conference, reported by Arsenal.com, when talking about his team selection for the FA cup clash with Sunderland tomorrow.
Wenger said, “The team news is that, from last week, we have no big injuries, and the squad will be similar to the squad who played the last game against Newcastle. Will a young player or two start? I haven’t decided yet.
“The bad news of the week is that Alexis is not quite ready. It is a precaution because of his hamstring, and it takes a few more days. He’s not bad but he’s not ready.
“Nothing’s changed [from the original timescale] with Santi. It could be a bit shorter with him because he’s often quicker [to recover] than you expect him to be. Cazorla and Coquelin are doing well.
“Tomas Rosicky is not far, he’s back in full training next week, so should be available soon. Mikel is available.
“The thinking is to give absolutely everything to qualify. We are the holders of the cup and I know as well by experience that it is very important that you get in the competition and that you have a successful third round. It’s a tricky one, always, the third round.”
Is it just me or was the prof being deliberately obtuse when asked about resting players? I think it was because Sam Allardyce earlier in the week had a rant about the fixtures and declared that he would have to play a second string side. Is he trying to lull Wenger into a false sense of security before hitting us with his strongest possible staring XI? If so I think the Arsenal boss has sussed him out and will be ready.