Arsenal have come through the gruelling Christmas schedule with flying colours and have moved to the top of the Premier League, but it is also important that we now concentrate on our next game which is the first in our defence of our FA Cup trophy. Our players are set for a weeks rest before facing Sunderland but will have a tough League game against Liverpool just a few days later.
Obviously Wenger doesn’t want to risk getting knocked out at the first hurdle, but he will certainly be using some rotation to give our top players some extra R&R, and now he has been given the green light to make changes from our opponents manager Sam Allardyce.
Big Sam’s biggest target is to keep the Black Cats in the Premier League so considers the FA Cup to be a distraction and has made it clear he will be making big changes. Allardyce told the Guardian: “Of course I’m going to make changes for our Cup tie at Arsenal on Saturday,”
“If the Premier League decides to put a stupid fixture midweek when they don’t bloody need to, then I haven’t got much choice.
“It’s diabolical. We’re flogging the lads. There are more and more injuries every year but it’s completely ignored by the Premier League. It’s unbelievable. If you want us to respect the FA Cup, don’t put Premier League fixtures in the midweek just after new year. Don’t give me stick when I change the side at Arsenal. Give the Premier League stick, not the managers.”
As Arsenal have so many injuries, Wenger risked burning out some of our players over the festive period, so this will now mean that a lot of them can now have a ten day rest before facing Liverpool, while our reserves can go out and destroy the Sunderland reserves!