Mikel Arteta’s first team squad has grown dramatically since the end of last season, but do Arsenal have enough quality (and quantity) in depth to go al the way in the Europa League, as well as secure a place in the Top Four this season?
Arteta is adamant that we are in it to win it. The Boss told Arsenal.com: “We have to go for every competition that we are present in, and try to win it. We’ll go step by step and start to prepare for the competition in the best possible way. There are some good examples around of teams who have won the competition in the last few years.”
“We have to maintain the level of performance we are at right now and the demand will be to do it every three days, which is what you are hoping for when you are at this club,” he added.
But of course we have a good list of players that have not played yet this season and will be desparate to get a full 90 minutes. Players like Turner, Cedric, Holding, Lokonga, Elneny, Marquinhos, Vieira and Nketiah.
We also have Smith-Rowe, Tierney and Tomiyasu who have only made cameos, and youngsters like Azeez, Walters, Natt Smith and Olayinko who are knocking on the door, so we are not too short of personel. But the problems will start when we start getting injuries, fatigue and suspensions, which will be critical to us maintaining the fight on all fronts.
Arteta continued: “Rotation depends on the level of the opposition, the state of our squad and where everybody is. Let’s take it game by game, see how the fitness of the team is and we’ll make the best possible decisions.
“Does rotation mean we rotate two players, three or 10? You have to weigh up the amount of minutes they have spent together [on the pitch] and find a strategy to get the best out of the team and get the right balance without dropping the level of performance. You need to win today and play a team who is going to get you there.”
Our reasonably easy draw in the Group Stage will give Arteta a chance to get these players match fit so they can cover for any first teamers that need a break.
Then all we have to do is hope all our players come back fit after the World Cup….
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Watch Arteta’s full pre-match press conference ahead of Fulham
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