Arsene Wenger has never made any secret of the fact that he views Arsenal’s priorities a little different to the average Gooner. It led to the famous statement that the football media jumped on to label a Top Four spot the ‘Wenger trophy’.
Of course the Frenchman would rather win the Premier League but after that his priority is to keep the club in the Champions League. A big reason for that in recent years has been the money situation and he did amazingly well, just ask the Spuds, Everton, Liverpool and now Man United how much they would love to hear that spine tingling music as their team takes the pitch in midweek.
So we know Wenger’s thought process and he made it clear earlier this week that the West Ham game was his main focus. I expected a full strength Arsenal side this weekend and then a hopeful but much changed XI on Tuesday. However, as the West Ham players dropped like flies, Wenger must have thought his dreams had come true.
He was able to rest Santi Cazorla, Hector Bellerin and Danny Welbeck and was even able to give Alexis Sanchez a rest towards the end of the game. In fact none of our players were over-taxed as we won comfortably. Theo Walcott got a much needed hour on the pitch and Ramsey will be buzzing after a great performance, while Gabriel could be fit for Tuesday as well.
All this means that Wenger now has the option to play his strongest Arsenal side in Monaco on Tuesday without worrying about his key players being burned out. Whether that will be enough is doubtful but it must make Arsenal’s chances of progressing that much better.