Out of the FA Cup on Sunday, things don’t get much easier from here for Arsenal with a trip to Barcelona just days away.
The Spanish champions are the holders of the Champions League and take a seemingly unassailable 2-0 lead into Wednesday’s game. Unbeaten in 37 games, the match seems a lost cause and some fans will want Arsène Wenger to avoid risking players with a crucial Premier League game against Everton coming up on Saturday.
However, it seems unlikely that the Frenchman will take such an approach.
“We want to now focus on the Champions League and then we go to Everton and that schedule is very tight,” Wenger said on Sunday after watching his side head out of the FA Cup against Watford. “It is very difficult playing on Sunday afternoon, Wednesday night and then Saturday morning. It is important that we respond very quickly.”
Mesut Özil could do with a rest and Wenger would possibly regret it if he rushes Laurent Koscielny back with the faint hope he could help us win at the Nou Camp. Especially if the game went badly and players were unavailable or off colour against Everton days later.
But, right or wrong, Wenger will go full strength in the Champions League this week.
“We play a big game and players want to play in the big games. When you have a big game in front of you, you want to prepare well and show how good you are. I think that is natural.”
It is natural, but at this stage, out of the FA Cup and desperately clinging on to the Premier League title race, maybe the boss would be better served resting players and focusing on our trip to Goodison Park.