Did Wenger take too big a risk by rotating against Newcastle

Arsenal’s embarrassing away defeat to Newcastle may have surprised few fans after seeing the Gunners lose every away League game this year, but could Wenger have tried a little harder to actually get a result instead of playing lesser squad members like Joe Willock, Alex Iwobi, Rob Holding and Calum Chambers?

It would appear that Wenger is putting all his eggs in a Europa League-shaped basket and has no interest in going into next year’s Europa League via our League position and is going all out to reach the Champions League. The only problem is that we have to get past the favourites Atletico Madrid in the semi-final first.

The Gunners legend Thierry Henry thinks that Wenger should have been a bit more proactive, especially as we don’t have to play another match until next weekend. Henry said: “I said two weeks ago, Burnley are only two points behind Arsenal and people were like, ‘Come on, relax’. No, I can’t relax because they are really two points behind Arsenal.

“It is kind of a weird one because you want to put all our focus on the Europa League and it was great to see Joe Willock today and Reiss Nelson the other week – you want to see youngsters, – but at the minute, you can’t really play on ‘we can rotate and have it easy in the league’ while thinking about the Europa League.

“If they go out to Atletico Madrid, suddenly you’re fighting with Burnley – what an amazing job that Sean Dyche has done by the way – and you’re out of everything.

“I don’t think that will happen – maybe it’s my Arsenal side coming out – but [Wenger] rested some good players today and ended up losing the game. You need to think carefully about how you are going to play those last few games.”

Maybe Wenger really is not interested in the Europa League and he actually wants us to finish below Burnley. Or maybe he believes that we are nailed on to beat Atletico and go on and win the Europa League, but it certainly looks like he has given up on any sort of League position with his choices for Sunday’s starting XI….



  1. GB says:

    Win the Europa League! Are you having a laugh?
    If we finish 7th, I.e. behind Burnley, as seems more than likely now, we then have to go into the Europa League qualifiers which start 11 days after the end of the World Cup. There goes any hope of new signings and a proper pre-season. So whatever happens next season, Wenger goes or stays, we are fukced. Even Rafa is being touted as our next manager!
    Give me strength!!

    1. William J powers says:

      This match demonstrated how the Premier League is on the road to failure. Arsenal and other top teams control the player market, singing the 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th best players. The 2 through 4 act as buffers between the 1sts and the 5th or worse that the “have-not” teams can sign. When a top team comes up against far lesser foes, the manager finds he has demoralized or rusty subs who otherwise cannot get a game or are not game sharp. If the big team loses, then it is the pitiful “famous victory” that keeps small market team hopes alive. If the game is not competitive between evenly matched teams, the fans and tele views will abandon the game. Ask yourself who will watch if they turn on to find Man City up 2-0 on West Brom? The Prem needs roster limits, a salary cap, and a small draft to level the playing field and keep its popularity at the turnstile and sofa.

  2. ThirdManJW says:

    Although he rotated, Auba, Laca, Xhaka, Cech, Mustafi, Elneny, and Monreal started, with Welbeck from the bench. These are all senior players, with plenty of experience, that should be getting at the very least, something from a team like Newcastle. Another defeat, another dismal performance, yet again, is unacceptable! Rotation is yet another excuse.

  3. Ozziegunner says:

    There is no ambition at Arsenal now under Wenger. How far the mighty have fallen.
    At least Rafa Benitez has won in Europe and has put newly promoted Newcastle in a good position given the resources available to him under current ownership.

  4. Phil says:

    Why did he test so many first choice players?Kos I understand.Ramsey took a knock so that I get.The rest of the team?Bearing in mind they had a full week before facing West Ham it is just another example of Wenger getting even the basic decisions correct.He seems to rate his players more highly than we do.He will never admit his many many wrongs.But it’s all catching up with him now.He is just incapable of Managing this Football Club now and he continues to allow himself to be ridiculed by everyone.He is finally getting what he deserves.THE SACK

  5. Grandad says:

    He didn’t rotate enough for me.The guys who were at fault for the Newcastle goals ,namely Czech,Mustafi and Monreal are first team regulars and significantly former internationals.

  6. Sue says:

    This season has been complete pants… I now believe we will get thrashed by Atletico (poor team selection) and then will let Burnley have 6th place & will finish 7th (due to more poor team selections)
    Obviously I don’t want this to happen though! ?

    1. GB says:

      Me neither but I agree with you, it will happen Sue.

    2. ks-gunner says:

      Its a win win situation for fans. Either outcome is good for us fans.

  7. ks-gunner says:

    I can assure you that Wenger has lost control and a person who has no control can not risk neither prepare for any outcome whatsoever. To many years he has being relied on luck, and this time there is non for him as other teams do not do so, but rather always prepare them self.

  8. #Yo Iwobi - you wanna go away from here? says:

    When I saw Iwobi on the team sheet I just had to write the game off.

    1. Break-on-through says:

      That makes me feel sad, I don’t know how to do a sad face, that makes me even sadder. I’m gonna go & listen to Travis’s rain song now, see ya on the flip side.

    2. RSH says:

      yet he was actually one of the few decent players that game. And a decent game for him qualifies as one of his best. So Iwobi had one of his best games

  9. Break-on-through says:

    Also whenever we do rest players it seems to backfire, when they then play a game it looks like they haven’t kicked a ball in two months. Same with Europa this year, other teams benefit when they get a week off and with the energy they bring it shows. When it’s us it looks like they/we were on the sidelines for months, that’s what Id liken them to. And then weirdly we have the exception of Per who was out for a year/season or however long, but gives his best ever performance in an Arsenal shirt. Then the very next season he throws in the towel despite us in a serious need as well as paying for the privilege. Like what the hell goes on at Arsenal. Holding arrives bustling with confidence and looks to attack the ball aggressively and at a height but also knows when to stand off a bit to read the play instead, perfect mix. Then a whole seasons experience with 30+ year old pros and a manager with over 40 years experience and off the back of a cup performance in which he dueled with the toughest striker around and didn’t come off second best, he comes off all that yet he lacks confidence, plus he’s second guessing his choices and doesn’t look as fit as when we first signed him. I don’t know where to start or what goes on at the Arsenal with these matters. But one thing I do know, Bolton put allot of work into Holding and he was being learned to concentrate fully on defensive work. They deserve the credit for last seasons Holding. Maybe when we’re looking into coaches it might be an idea to get the fellow who worked with Holding.

  10. jon fox says:

    I actively want us to get thrashed in every game , ceasing only the next game after WENGER is sacked! ANYTHING, REPEAT, ANYTHING , that brings the cure nearer MUST be good news and what real fans wish for.

  11. BillytheFish says:

    As a Geordie who lived in Highbury for many years I always enjoy playing Arsenal.
    Win lose or draw and we usually lose, it is always nice to see the way Arsenal pass the ball and rotate the game across the pitch.
    My warning is you is, you have no right to win anything, or play sexy football…So be careful what you wish for, remember “1-0 to the Arsenal”

  12. bran911 says:

    Barca rotates players and still are unbeaten. The only explanantion is our bench ain’t good enough thanx to the oldest fossil still in charge.

  13. RSH says:

    Would Ozil have made a difference? hasn’t in any away matches this season so I dont think that wouldve changed the result.

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