Every single Arsenal fan in the world is aware that we have to play Barcelona on Tuesday, but we are also aware that the chances of Arsenal winning the FA Cup for a record third time in a row are much greater than progressing any further in the Champions League, so perhaps we should have made less changes?
Wenger was asked about his selection after the game and he was adamant the team should have been good enough. “I played a team that, in my opinion, had the quality to win the game today. The Barcelona game was not in my mind today. I rested Ramsey and Ozil completely, because they’ve played many games since the start of the season. When I can do it, I do it. Mesut Ozil was a bit sick over the week, so I decided to leave him out completely. Ramsey has played many games, so that’s why I kept him out.”
Wenger was then asked if it was a shame that both teams (Hull made 10) had made so many changes, especially considering the winners would go through to the quarter finals of the Cup. “A shame? No,” he replied. “because that would mean that the players in the squad are not good enough, which I don’t think [is true]. If you look at the players that played in our team, Ospina, Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, they are all internationals, [as are] Elneny, Flamini, then yes, Iwobi. People want you to give a chance to young players. When you play them, they say ‘it’s a shame’. Up front we had Walcott, Welbeck and Campbell, all internationals. People always want you to buy more and more players. When you play them, they say ‘why did you play them?’ I think the team was of quality and that’s not an excuse.”
Yes the players were individually good enough, but the problem is that they rarely all play together. You know the famous “cohesion” that Wenger is always going on about? Maybe if he had made, say, six changes and then took off three of our first team once we had built a lead? Would that have been more sensible?