It depends which of Arsene Wenger’s comments about Arsenal and the approach to our season in the unfamiliar European competition that is the Europa League you have been listening to I suppose, because the Frenchman has been a bit contradictory on the issue ever since we first found out our fate on the final day of last season.
Of course the Gunners did not want to drop out of the elite competition that is the Champions League, but the boss suggested it might be a good thing as we could then focus all our energies on the new Premier League title race. Well that is one of the things he has said, because Wenger has also spoken about winning the thing and about picking strong sides for the group games.
Just this week the boss seemed to contradict himself in the space of a single sentence, reported by Metro, when he talked about his preparations for the long haul trip to face BATE Borisov tonight, which is unfortunately sandwiched in between the EPL game against West Brom on Monday and a stupidly early kick-off against Brighton on Sunday.
Wenger said, ‘We have a tight schedule. It’s an important game, only one or two young players will start.’
So the schedule? Surely that means he needs to rest the key players today, but by saying it is an important game he is putting pressure on himself to field a strong side. The fact Alexis Sanchez traveled tells me that Wenger is considering a strong selection and although it would be nice to win the group I am surprised that we would take risks with the much more important Premier League game coming up.
Is the Arsenal manager set to shock us by not playing a second string side tonight?