Arsenal are not the club that has had the worst fixture schedule in terms of the lack of time that the players have to rest and recover between Premier League games over this new year period, but we are not far off and with our usual lengthy injury list to cope with it makes life hard for the manager.
Arsene Wenger is well aware that we cannot afford to drop any points away to AFC Bournemouth today, just as we could not afford to drop any at home to Crystal Palace on new years day but the fact that today´s game kicks off just 50 hours after the last one finished does give the boss a selection problem.
While the Gunners could be without seven first team players, assumi8ng that Mesut Ozil is not recovered from his illness and Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs are not quite fit again after their injury problems, Eddie Howe has just two on the injury list and Jack Wilshere unavailable due to the loan rules.
They have also had more than an extra day since their last match, so it is no surprise to see in the preview on the Arsenal website that Wenger is going to rotate in order to freshen things up and give Arsenal the best chance of taking all three points back to London.
The Frenchman said, “Yes [there is extra pressure on the team at Bournemouth], but in 20 years it is the most uneven Christmas period I have seen on the fixture front. The difference of rest periods compared to the other teams is unbelievable.
“Every game is so difficult in this Premier League that we go now into a game in 48 hours with a big handicap on the fixtures. I have to try to find some fresh legs, so let’s just focus on Bournemouth and try to get a good result there.”
We could really do with a few players coming back today but if not, will the strength of the Arsenal squad be enough to pop the Cherries?