It was great to see Arsenal stage a spirited comeback from three goals down at Bournemouth, and although Arsene Wenger was pleased that his team didn’t give up, he thinks it was very unfair that his team had to play again after just two days after our win against Crystal Palace, while the Cherries had an extra day to recover from their win over Swansea.
“Yes, it was a physical test and a mental test for us.” Wenger said. “A physical test because we had problems to start to cope with the pace of Bournemouth. Defensively we had some problems and I think you have to acknowledge the quality of Bournemouth – congratulations to them. But as well, it’s too uneven to have only two days to play against a team with over three days rest. It took us a while to get back into the game.
“On top of that, we were a bit unlucky as well – to concede a penalty and after the third goal, for us, with 70 minutes played we were 3-0 down. So it was a mental test, but we succeeded because we have a great resilience in the team and great mental strength and that came out. In the end you are even frustrated not to win the game. We missed some opportunities in the end. A corner into the hands of the goalkeeper, instead of taking an in-swinger we should’ve taken an out-swinger, these are the details that you have to keep composure and play until the last minute. That’s down to keeping your head cool.”
Le Prof reiterated the unfairness of playing against a team that had had more time to recover, and certainly doesn’t think it was ‘fair’. “Look, I am ready to play tomorrow again as long as we play against an opponent who has played today as well.” he continued. “That is what I call fair. All the rest, we have to play when we are told to play but we want to play against a team with the same time of rest and preparation that we have.”
I can certainly see his point, but I can’t help but point out again that the reason we have such a large and talented squad is that we can rotate to keep fresh legs on the field. Wenger only made three changes from the side that beat Crystal Palace, but considering the players that we had on the sidelines for both games it was very surprising….