Whether Arsene Wenger chooses to rest a few first team players for the Champions League away game against Barcelona on Wednesday night remains to be seen, but judging from his comments in the press conference today reported by The Mirror, I would not be at all surprised.
The manager was perhaps responding to some comments made earlier by the former Arsenal player Paul Merson who suggested that Wenger might sacrifice the FA cup for the Champions League game even though we have next to no chance of getting through, but I think the Frenchman just realises that this cup run is very important and that we cannot take our opponents lightly.
He said, “I’m not considering the Barcelona game, I am only focused on the Watford game.
“Nobody is thinking about the Barcelona and Everton games. Everyone is focused on Watford.”
Even though the game on Sunday is at the Emirates Stadium and Watford are in the middle of a dry spell, with no goals and two defeats in the last three games, the Arsenal boss is well aware that the Hornets are dangerous opponents and even though we beat them 3-0 at Vicarage Road this season, it would be foolish to take them or progression to the next round for granted.
Wenger declared, “They have done extremely well. The Championship teams that come up now do well.”
Watford have already taken some big scalps this season, including Liverpool and West Ham, and they have managed creditable draws with the likes of Chelsea and Everton, so this is no time to be rotating too heavily and playing a second string Arsenal side, so I am glad to hear that the boss is not going to. Or is he?