Arsenal fans can expect to see quite a few changes to the starting line-up of the Gunners tonight as we take on Southampton for a place in the semi-final of the EFL cup. I think we have to understand that Arsene Wenger has to make the Premier League a priority and with all the games that we have played, including a tough run in the Champions League, he needs to give some of the big players a rest.
The manager also has a fair amount of injury problems to cope with as well, especially at right back where the unlucky Frenchman Matthieu Debuchy joined the young Spaniard Hector Bellerin in the treatment room at the weekend. I was pretty worried when that happened as Carl Jenkinson was not even in the squad for our win over Bournemouth, but the boss has revealed that this was not due to a fitness issue.
Wenger told Arsenal.com that the reason he left Jenks out was because he had been a long time out and so the Frenchman is just being cautious and trying to ease him back into things gently, while also revealing that Carl would be starting the cup game tonight.
Wenger said, “You forget that it’s a big ask [to come back from a big injury].
“Carl is very conscientious and sometimes a bit anxious. It takes him time to play completely with freedom. He needs a run of games to play with freedom, so the fact that he can get another game… I think we’ll already see a different Carl.
“I rested him completely against Bournemouth because he played two big games and I felt he needed a breather. Sometimes, mentally three games in a week demands a lot. We’ll get him back tomorrow, put Gabriel in the centre and I will see for Saturday.”
Has Wenger done the right thing in taking Jenkinson out of the firing line at the weekend? Will the Gunners reap the benefits of that decision tonight and for the next few weeks until Bellerin is back?