Arsenal are travelling to Nottingham Forest tomorrow to begin their defence of a trophy that they have won for 3 of te last 4 seasons, and to try and increase Arsene Wenger’s incredible record of having won 7 winners medals with the same club. It is very doubtful that anyone will ever get close to that figure ever again.
But with the gruelling congested Christmas schedule in the Premier League, the boss is desperate to give most of his remaining first team players a rest and has promised to rotate his players as much as possible. He said in the pre-match conference: “From before Chelsea, nothing has changed,” he said. “Kolasinac, Koscielny, Monreal, Ramsey, Giroud are all out.
“From Wednesday night we certainly lose Granit Xhaka, who finished with a tight groin.
“I will rotate a little bit because play three games in six days.”
Having already lost 6 first team players he is unlikely to play any other stars like Ozil and Alexis, and he is even giving Petr Cech a rest as well. Luckily we are only playing a Championship side so we could still win with a weakened team, but he admits that he is desperate to win the trophy again and he feels the extra pressure of being holders. “Yes, of course, but there is an incentive as well to maintain our record, and overall the FA Cup is a very important competition. To win trophies – in every country – is so difficult, that everybody really goes for it, absolutely and completely.
“That’s why we want to be successful when we come into the competition. Overall I believe the group is focused, positive in the way we play football and it’s important to have a continuity there.”
So he will be using the whole ‘group’ and will pick a side that he believes is good enough to beat Forest. Let’s all just hope that his optimism is not misplaced and everything works out. We have to admit that he usually gets it right in the FA Cup!