Posted on February 09, 2012 by ADMIN

Who should Wenger play (or rest) against Sunderland?

Arsenal are now just three points behind Chelsea in the coveted fourth place in the Premiership, so a win is an absolute must this weekend at Sunderland, but with the (perhaps more important?) Champions League tie against AC Milan coming up in midweek, Wenger will be considering his team selection very carefully.

Wenger has so far avoided resting Robin van Persie, but as he has Thierry Henry, Ju-Young Park and the now-returned Marouane Chamakh in the squad, perhaps it may be prudent to make sure that the Dutch international doesn’t get injured this weekend.

The injury problems have eased at the Emirates, and as well as Chamakh, Wenger also has Johann Djourou and Kieran Gibbs back from injury, and Bacary Sagna can also be considered fully fit at last. Perhaps Gibbs could play half a game along with Vermaelen to keep the Belgian fresh for Tuesday?

Ramsey has had a little rest now, and Arshavin hasn’t played since the booing debacle against Man Utd, so maybe Wenger could give Arteta and Oxlade-Chamberlain a breather before travelling to Milan as well.

We can’t ignore the fact that the Sunderland game could be crucial to our season, but should Wenger risk keeping some firepower back for the Milan match?

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64 thoughts on “Who should Wenger play (or rest) against Sunderland?

  1. Stuart

    first team against sunderland im PL and first team in champions league and then rest plsyers in fa cup.

    Opinions divided. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 21

  2. budgie

    sessegnon got problems, good news for us, think he”s the danger, lets get our best team out, let the ox and theo run them ragged and put these three points to bed.

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1

  3. Aurijit

    Same as Billy…. First team in both matches…. then we may fallback on other squad players… after next two fixtures….

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  4. The Real Billy

    Rest RVP and the OX – for Arshavin and park
    Ramsey, song, then maybe coquelin to rest arteta
    then usual defence and GK, however if it was me, play 442 with park and (either chamakh or henry) possibly? i dont know , but it would give some more midfielders a break.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 8

  5. liard24

    i think wenger will play the same first 11 as of the last game, and may be ramsey wil come in for rosicky as well as coquelin might get a nod at left back. tv5 wil play alongside mertscker while sagna at right back. players to rest: kos, rosicky, rvp. but they should b all on bench and the last two should play at least last 25mins. playing the best players available is the only way to get 3points. rotation wil be done for the FA game after these 2games, and again, the best starting 11 should be choosen. THUMBS UP GOONERS!!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  6. kevin cook

    what a stupid question. we want to qualify for cl,?
    we want to win the fa cup.?
    so why weaken the team in any match,have to play the strongest 11, its just suicidal to weaken in any match, if we lose at sunderland then at home to spurs, and look like having no chance to qualify for cl, if we get knocked out cl, by ac milan, and if we dont get through to the next round of the fa cup, then weaken, the team when we have nothing left to play for,but the strongest 11 every game plzzz mr wenger,
    and plzzz do not let rvp go, by all means buy sturridge, but keep what u have .

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 7

  7. Johnno

    Why can’t Arsenal have the “every match is like a cup final” mentality from week one?

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 2

  8. eMMkLin

    We can trash Sunderland, without Robin and Verminator — both coming in, probably, in the 2nd half. I think the EPL clash is much more paramount. We can win all.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

  9. AidanGooner

    This is the problem when we have a decent first eleven but an inadequate squad

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  10. oluokun adeyemi

    in futbol i want 2 believed is a match @ hand before another,sunderland match is very important to our forth place quest and also CL qualification is also more important,why not try and win our EPL match on saturday convincingly and if we could get draw @ sansiro is a plus to our beloved team.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. hashim

    Start with a couple of squad players like Benayoun, Chamakh, Park, and Arshavin in these games. Play a strong 11, even with a couple of changes. I dont think that will make any difference. Formation changes may also help.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  12. Jon

    I reckon start with full team for Sunderland and see how we go. Give RVP and the Ox an early sub whatever the score and bring on Henry and the rubbish Russian (Andrei might do something good for once – stranger things have happened!)
    The players have had a week to rest, course they can keep fresh for 2 of the seasons most important games!?!?!
    If we lose to Sunderland in the league then the FA Cups going to be tough whatever the squad.

    Go on the gooners!!!!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  13. H

    Don’t bust a winning team, keep the morale up and dont meddle. They have had enough rest. Premier League has to be the priority of all of them.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  14. Ibro vc

    We need to win both matches to stay in contention, in my opinion, the defence should not be tempered with, let the changes affect midfield and up front, we shouldn’t take any risk to loose this games, names like Djourou should be avoided in this crucial moment, we need consistancy and total commitment from both the players and us the supporters.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  15. Travis Bickle

    We MUST field a strong squad for Sunderland.

    Newcastle play Tottenham at Newcastle and Liverpool play Man utd. at United.

    This week is a big opportunity to pull away from Liverpool and Newcastle, or close the gap on United and Tottenham.

    We play Milan away, we could play for the draw, 0-0 or 1-1 and beat them back at the Emirates on the return leg!

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  16. bradster

    This weekend is paramount result. Be great if they’re tired and short Sessegnon but either way we need the 3 points.
    AC Milan are filled with aging players and play a European style which might suit Arshavin. Away goals are important in this game so full on striking is important.
    FA cup we can get away with a draw and take it back to the Emerates so not vital to have an attacking side but need a strong defence.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  17. tokzhee

    Wenger learn from mourinho… play the best players when they can play. he’s stole 2 trophies from you with this decision.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  18. gary

    we should be able to beat a very weary and depleted Sunderland….
    just don’t allow either Arshavin or Djouroouuu near the bus

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  19. mudah of arsenal

    is barca resting messi for even kings cup? If… no then why RVP etc?

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  20. alireza fayyazmanesh

    Honestly we have no chance to became somthing in CL, but we have to be on top of the table for next year, we have to fight for PL and take it very serious, and pray Wenger buy quality player in summer. If we are out of top 4, then we lose RVP. Barca give us baby and we give them back as man, i do not know we shoud cray or laughing. we have to win every game let us use our beast player against Sunderland and distroy them same we did with Blackburn, and hope we come home from Italy even with 1 point and fuck them at Emarate.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  21. Cc

    My only interest is in the 9 position,I think park should be played along with persie,if he can score like mad for south korea,then he can do the same for us we only need 2 bring him into the team.With henry soon to be going,chamakh is a waste,stop wasting our tym playing him b/4 park.I think RVP+park+henry will make a great team,up front.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  22. Henchman

    We all arsenal knew what we needed this crucial time ,,,,if only our lovely manager arsen wenger ll in arsenal best interest use thesame team he used against blackburn and sagna in the defense ,,,,,bicos is the team that has been helping we fans @same pleading for wenger to bench Ramsey, arshevin, djouro as well,tnks arsen

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  23. Boris

    Both TV5 and Kosc. will not play due to 5 yellow cards.
    Check the stats before you write anything.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  24. Pat N1

    There is a load of time for them to rest when they get injured again, like last season and the season before and season before, we should be sponsor’ed by bupa health. care.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  25. Dan T

    Was good seeing Sunderland looking tired in extra time last night – Anything to give us a slightly bigger advantage. They will be tired. I fully expect us to put out the same team as Blackburn game – If we come flying out then we can destroy them early on, then rest RVP, Ox, Vermaelan/kos/mert. This game is critical for confidence. We do not want to go to Milan having lost another winnable game + we can’t afford to lose any more ground on those above us in the league.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  26. Luke emmanuel

    Keving cook, i agree wth u. Every match is very important 4us. So, play d frst 11 evry match pls. Tnk u & wish them d best of luck. Play rosicky, arteta and song. B4 usin ramsey pls. Ox nd walctt wth rvp as usual. And start wth vamitor, mtasaker, kos wth coquln, then at d second save, u cn now rest vmitor 4 gibbs nd coquln 4 sagna. Tnx mr wenger.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. mabus

    luckily wenger got good reason if we lose. Same reason, player got tired and dun have much rest… expect that

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  28. Nick

    I’m not thinking about CL or FA Cup & neither should the team. They should be 100% focused on winning vs Sunderland! Must win! You just won a game in convincing fashion and now you must get another 3 points. Build on a winning mentality each game. Priorities in order of importance should be:
    1- top 4 finish which means winning every league game from here out
    2- winning FA Cup and taking home some silverware
    3- winning CL. It’s a longshot but it could happen, but not for sake of the league standings ensuring we’re there again next season.

    We can rest a couple players but most important for Sunderland is a rock solid defense. Sagna, TV5, Kos/BFG, Gibbs & Szcz in goal. Midfield we should play Arteta, Rosicky, Ox & Song. Park & AA23 up front. Bring on RVP as a second half sub immediately after the half if AA23 or Park aren’t showing enough. Bring on Ramsey, Yossi in midfield if someone is underperforming & Theo to inject pace if it will help.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  29. kevin cook

    if he had bought 3-4 experienced players in january, we would not be worried about tiredness or who should be left out, the same 11 that destroyed blackburn, plus an enviable bench. , would make all gooners, more confident.for the chalenges ahead in the next 3 weeks,

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  30. Tunde

    In god we trust, every game is very important we must qaulify for CL & the fa is also important, and will gervinho made the trip to san siro…….

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  31. Tunde

    My opinion as a gunner fans is, pls & pls wenger should stop using ramsy as firts 11 every one of us saw the march against black burn rovers, pls as my own fiew is look like ramsy is killing our attacking, he don’snt released ball when it surppost to give pass, pls let Roscisky cover the place for him, pls dont benched any player three point against sunderland is very very important & the rest of the march………….

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  32. Henry

    It gives me great joy seeing my fellow gooners being so optimistic…despite all the ups and downs this season…our love for Arsenal FC hasn’t wavered…whatever competition, the best bet is to take each game as a final and play the strongest 11 all through and we’d come up tops…Up gooners

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  33. dochebadunited

    the funny thing is all these first 11 players dont wanna be rested, they wanna play! why rest them…they are pros for a reason…to play not rest!!!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  34. the 10 shirt

    It’s sad to say but RVP can’t afford to be rested anytime soon. the next 4-6 weeks we have many tough games against Sunderland, Ac milan, Newcastle and Tottenham. For those who think RVP will get a rest, think again. We need him too much and it all depends on whether we finish Sunderland off the first tie in the FA Cup. Something tells me O’Neill’s men will take us to the second leg at home.

    He should ha e been rested after his hattrick at Blackburn to path way for Park. Wenger really stuffed up there! That would have killed 2 birds with one stone in giving RVP time off and Park to prep himself for more game time.

    For those who think RVP will be rested anytime soon must be kidding themselves. We can’t rest him this week against Sunderland as we’re still fighting for 4th place and EPL games are too important! FA Cup is Arsenal’s best chance of a trophy this year so another reason why he won’t be benched. Then we have CL against AC Milan. Work that one out!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  35. cam2


    Arshavin cam watch the tapes this is where he scores 4 in one game
    Song or tommas cdm in a 2-4-4
    Only 3 changes to a winning team from last year do it!!!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  36. Steve C

    Rest RVP for sunderland. Play park and chamakh and keep launching balls into the box. Chamackh will get his nut on one of them and grow his confidence. Id play the younger players for champs league. I know you are all probably screaming right now, but why risk injuries in a competition our depleted squad cannot win. going after this will cause the same problems as recent years. Concentrate on 4th spot and bringing the fa cup home, which is highly achievable.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  37. Gary the Red

    We haven’t got strong enough squad to rotate at this stage of season. If we were 10 points clear in a top 4 place then yes take a chance on Park,Arshavin etc. But we are not in top 4 and this like every league game now is crucial, the Sunderland game is far more important than Milan game at end of the day we got no chance to win champions league so let’s go all out for top 4 and FA cup our only chance of a trophy.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. ArsenaLova

    rest song for tuesday.keep arteta place. jst one holding midfield in this.mylineup;


    1)szczesny ddnt look impresive in few weeks.perhaps he need a rest. gve fabianski a chance. n i think myb the tweeter scandal dsturb szczesny head right now.

    2)coquelin dserve to hold on hes place since he is impresive against blackburn.

    3)koscielny play most of our match. sagna tke hes place n tke the leftback position. tv5 n mert in the centre.

    4)arteta cn hold the midfield with ramsey as a centre midfield. song looks tired n we need him fully fit for milan. ramsey is fresh. n we cn jst use one holding midfield. with arteta suporting him in the middle.

    5)benayoun cn help cover coquelin.dserve to chambo.

    6)walcot on the left. sagna wont be left expose.

    7)gve arshavin a chance on that free attacking role. with park upfront. arshavin cn tear dfence apart thru the middle n he cn provide the killer pass. he did it against bolton in carling cup. bt yet wenger cnt see it. he assist park n score one mke him man of the match on that match.

    we need to balance the squad. three days later we play milan?then fa cup? ten spudsy?it is crucial period for us. i knw we shud put evry best 11 out there. bt i wud go with this lineup. if nothing hapen bring rvp for park. chambo for benayoun around 25-20 minutes left.if we’re on a cmfortable lead. gve gibbs around 10minutes perhaps??yes sunderland is flying at the i cnt see we cnt tke anythng from there. aslong the team put on a performance. espcially the likes of rambo r some shud nt keep losing posesion. as for rambo stop sliding around thinking the field like a skating field. stop flicking ball around like a headless chicken.ur skill doesnt often works n cn cost us. such as one of ur poorest game at swansea. ur decent game ol round performance?score as a sub against marseille. i think he doesnt suits into the attacking midfield position. even at centre midfield he is poor. we need a creative flair. we hv arteta,song,wilshere,frimponged n coquelin our holding n centre we dnt rely hv an attacking midfield.ramsey is a centre midfield.yet nt gud enough.dnt knw what position he is better offence rambo fans. he doesnt suit us. dnt hv arsenal dna.myb im wrong n wud be better in few years time.hopefuly. cn we send him loan to.bolton too?like what wilshere n myaichi done now??

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  39. ArsenaLova

    why need to compare with messi who play in the spanish league?? premier league is a physical league. n when rvp is nt fit he wud nt score n u guys wud cmplain he dnt hv a good game.3-4 game in a weeks??

    Even if they are a professional footballer.being pay for billion. we stil a human n our their body is nt like a robot. premier league to champs league. to fa cup to premier league. thats why we shud hv strength in depth since we’re a big club like what wenger says. big squad full of deadwood. again it is wenger fault. n also the board.we shid win any of somethng in the last 6yrs. wthout dein cnt see arsenal repeat their succes glory days.

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. John 3:16

    The only change Arsene Wenger should make for the league game against Sunderland is SAGNA in for COQUELIN at right-back. If there are no injuries after that game, play the same team against AC Milan and then rest 5 or 6 players to the bench for the FA Cup game at Sunderland.

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  41. chadwin daniels

    Rest song. He had a decent game against blackburn but over the last few weeks he was rather poor. Either way wenger could possibly with his 1st choice back 4 ahead of AC. Sagna3 ls6 tv5 and gibbs 28

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  42. Deyoung

    Guys, there is no need to be afraid, wenger should rest van persie and give young chance to play and maybe he should even grant walcots wish by allowing him to play in van persies position. But we should keep our eyes open against sunderland, if the players couldnt score in the first half then at halftime wenger should make changes that will provide us with goal bcos thats what we need now… Please let arshavin play bcos that guys has a promising future though he is out of form now.

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  43. Aussie Jack

    This is a matter of geting priorities right. Money wise, and that`s what it`s all about, it is important to make Europe next season so the priority is Sunderland in the League match. It would be nice to beat AC Milan but being as there is little hope of winning the Champions League this season I`d be inclined to concentrate more on th FA Cup, at least it`s silverware.Two out of three ain`t so bad. So, strong team for Sunderland they`re a tough nut to crack.

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  44. bendubz

    no they are a good team who r on good form we can’t afford to drop points and due to the lack of depth in our squad a near full strength team myst be played maybe resting one or two players.

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  45. LordZeus11

    We have put ourselves in a position where we cant afford to rest any1 in any competition. Sunderland away at the moment wouldn’t be far off the last fixture any team wants they are bang in form. RVP does need a rest but we cannot afford to give him 1 the next 6 weeks are crucial to our season. Ox is 18 and hes a fuckin bull that boy doesnt need a rest and he wants to get in the England squad anyway. I say rest Song for sure he seems steamed and has been poor lately anyway, Coquilen in. Mertesacker has played alot of football this season? Rosicky should stay in, hes playin very well we need him to keep playin like this for the rest the season.!

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  46. Steven

    Why did Wenger not rest RVP at halftime against Blackburn or take him off when they were down to 10 men they were never going to loose after that, then we wouldnt be wanting to rest him now.

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  47. harryjones OAU

    Aw said that every match is a cup now, so why thinking of resting some players now. will barca rest messi for champions league? i dont have believe in resting our key players cos we realy need 3 points against sunderland. Keep-on shooting guys.

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  48. Icemann

    We can not afford to rest our best players, even against the likes of Sunderland. We really need 3 points this weekend, to have any chance of us finishing 4th or better come May. I highly doubt Park will get a chance (maybe for the last ten minutes only if we are winning by at least two goal margin). In terms of priority, I believe this game is more important than the AC Milan game.

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  49. Patrick

    I agree with the team not being enrtiely suited to the rigours of the Prem. In recent years his policy of having smaller, more technical players hasn’t quite worked out. And why should it? The Premiership is not La Liga, and I doubt Barcalona would be so consistently brilliant in our league as they are in theirs week in, week out. For every small technical player we have in the side, we should perhaps have a stronger, more physical player to compliment them. I just think Wenger never quite got the balance right. Our squad ended up too small’, or lacking in physical presence in recent seasons.

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