Arsene Wenger shed some light on his thought process behind substitutions and how he feels about the introduction of four subs ahead of Arsenal’s FA Cup match against Lincoln.
If Arsenal’s clash against Lincoln goes to extra time, each team will be allowed to bring on a fourth sub rather than the standard three. The latest rule is in the stages of being tested, with other FA Cup matches, such as Spurs v Millwall, also seeing the introduction of a fourth sub should they need it.
Speaking with Arsenal’s matchday programme, Wenger revealed that he reckons there are pros and cons to the new rule.
“You do not want to interrupt the game too much, by making more substitutions,” he said.
“It can be a tactical weapon as well to slow the game down, so you would have to group the substitutions maybe. Overall I think we have to take care that the game remains fluent and dynamic, and that there aren’t too many stoppages.”
The boss went on to explain how he approaches substitutions.
“How to best use subs is an eternal debate,” Wenger explained.
“I think at the start you always try to play the team that has the best change to win the game. After that you look at who has the qualities you will need. You need to be ready to face all the situations, so you always have in your mind ‘if something happens at right back, what can I do? If something happens at left back, what can I do? If I have to attack, what can I do? If I have to defend, what can I do? And so on.”
Having a fourth sub in extra time would not only add a fresh pair of legs to the side but could allow a struggling team to completely change the dynamic of the game. Depending on how the manager plays it, this rule could completely change the outcome of the match.
Arsenal’s matchday programme is available via Arsenal’s free app, #COYG.