Arsenal have not won the Premier League for over ten years but are going to for an incredible hat-trick of FA Cup wins, as well as having to face the mighty Barcelona in the Champions League knockouts, but do the Gunners have a big enough squad to challenge on all three fronts?
Wenger said earlier this week that he would definitely be aiming to create history in the FA Cup, but he still made a fair amount of changes ahead of the tie against Sunderland and I have to ask if would he have risked playing all his first team players if we had drawn Chelsea or Man City instead?
Wenger himself has now come out and stated that, as Arsenal are a BIG club like Bayern Munich and Barcelona, we will go for every competition, in fact it can be positive to play all the extra games. “You have a rhythm [when you have a lot of games],” Le Prof said on Arsenal.com. “You try to check who needs a breather and who needs a rest and you do it. It is easier to keep the squad focused and motivated when you have many games.
“It has both a positive and negative impact. When you are on a roll and have no injuries everyone is in the same direction and it is easier to keep everyone on board. Everyone in the next competition thinks they have to play, and that is a positive.
“There is fatigue and injuries at the end of the season but you can’t say we are not a big club and that we can’t go for the big competitions, that is important.
“Bayern Munich go for the cup every year, Barcelona or Real Madrid go for the cup every year. Why? Because they are big clubs and you cannot say we won’t move out of a cup competition or national cup competition [and do well].”
This is definitely the right mindset in theory, but do we really have a squad that is big enough and talented enough to cope with a lot of rotation for big games? Here is an example. In February we are likely to be playing in the 5th round of the FA Cup (on the 20th). Three days later we have our home fixture against Barcelona. Don’t tell me Wenger won’t rest some players in the Cup game! Four days after facing Barca we have to go to Old Trafford, which could be a little tricky to say the least, and in the seven days after that we face Swansea on the Wednesday and then go to Old Trafford for the North London derby!
That is FIVE big games in just 14 days. Surely Wenger will have to choose which games to prioritise because how can our first XI play in every single game?