As we prepare for the Arsenal Premier League away clash with Manchester United, Arsene Wenger has been keen to play down the rivalry between him and the United boss, stating that is the players on the pitch that will be up against each other more than the men shouting orders from the dugout.
At the same time, the managers do have a big role to play and surely the Frenchman is keen to get one over on Jose Mourinho after the Portuguese has shown the prof little respect over the years. Even assuming that the Frenchman is only thinking of the points from the big game at Old Trafford, any advantage he can gain is very welcome.
That is why I am a little surprised to see Wenger be so open about which Arsenal players are likely to be in the starting line-up tomorrow. There were a few choices that our manager had to make but it seems to me that he has pretty much given away what they will be in his pre-match comments on the Arsenal website.
He said, “The options are basically Jenkinson – because Debuchy will play his first game back on Friday with the under-23s – and also Gabriel because he played a few times at left back for Villarreal.
“I do not want to destroy what works to put a player somewhere which is not 100 per cent his position. You have to keep your strong points in the squad and our central defence has worked well, so let’s not destroy it. Sometimes, to correct one position, you don’t have to change two.”
As well as revealing that he had little choice but to play Jenkinson instead of Bellerin at right back and declaring that he would not be changing the rest of the back four, Wenger said in another Arsenal.com report that he would have to look at the video of Alexis Sanchez playing for Chile on Tuesday before making his mind up.
Nice one Arsene, keep them guessing, except that he then said that the striker looks fine. But Mourinho might still be wondering if Alexis would play on the left with Giroud coming back. Well he need wonder no more after Wenger spoke at length about Alex Iwobi, so the set up of our forward line does not take much figuring out.
Could the boss be throwing Mourinho a red herring or has he just given his rival all the information he needs to plan his tactics against Arsenal tomorrow?
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