After Saturday’s win against Newcastle United, Arsenal players could relax for the first time in a few weeks.
A busy period came to a close with the tricky 1-0 victory, and the players could finally look to a week without a match before next Saturday’s visit of Sunderland. Star players like Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, Per Mertesacker and – of course – Mesut Özil started every single game over the festive period and will now be given a short break before the FA Cup third round game next weekend.
“I will give them a couple of days, an extra rest but you never know what shape they come back in,” Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger told the media. “It depends what you do when you have a rest. You can come back more tired.”
Hopefully the players just do the right things, then. The FA Cup is important to us – we’ve won it the last two seasons – and Wenger will want to field a strong team.
However, with a trip to Liverpool coming just four days after the Sunderland game, Wenger may want to rotate his side. That means we are likely to see Gabriel, Calum Chambers, Kieran Gibbs and even one of Alex Iwobi or Jeff Reine-Adelaide starting. Having said that, heavy rotation is off the cards.
“I don’t have much choice at the moment, so I don’t think I’ll be able to do that.”
The signing of Mohamed Elneny may be completed by the weekend, and he would surely make the squad for a possible home debut. As Wenger said, though, he doesn’t have a huge number of options at this moment in time so we are likely to see a strong team.
Ramsey and Özil are probably the players in most need of a rest, but given a few days off this week even they could return refreshed and ready to play.