Arsenal’s game against Sunderland is a third in just seven days but it’s a situation the Gunners are used to and Arsène Wenger is convinced it won’t affect their performance.
The team played well on Thursday evening, beating West Brom 2-0 to finally give the boss something to smile about. The celebrations couldn’t last too long, though, as the attention immediately shifted to Sunday’s match.
There is often a lot of talk about the Europa League and how playing on a Thursday can affect sides but Wenger, simply, doesn’t think that’s the case.
“Between Thursday and Sunday and Wednesday and Saturday morning is exactly the same,” the manager said after the 2-0 win against Tony Pulis’ side.
“You know we played on Wednesday night at Barcelona and then on Saturday against Everton at 12.45pm.”
That time around there were no issues, sure. Arsenal even had to travel back from Barcelona after exerting themselves in Spain and looked sharp at Goodison Park, winning 2-0 again.
Not only that, Wenger has real proof that the three-day gap makes no difference.
“It’s no problem. In fact, there’s a very interesting study that has come out from UEFA that shows that the points taken by the teams three days later are not less than after four or five days. It’s the opposite and that is quite interesting.
“The study has been made in all the five best leagues in Europe. Nobody has proven that it is a disadvantage to have only three days rest. The points on average are better than after four or five days.”
That certainly does sound interesting, but you have to take into account the fact all the best teams experience spells of just three or four days of rest consistently – they’re already the teams more likely to win anyway.
Regardless, Arsenal will be hoping nothing comes between them and three points on Sunday to take one step closer to Champions League football and avoid those Thursday nights next season.