Arsene Wenger has admitted that the home crowd could influence his team selection for Thursday’s game against FC Koln.
Arsenal kick-off their Europa League campaign against the Bundesliga side on Thursday night. Arsene Wenger has previously admitted that he will use the group stage games as an opportunity to rotate and blood in some young players.
However, he has stressed the need for a win in front of the Emirates crowd and has admitted that fan expectation could influence his team selection.
“Thursday to Sunday morning is short so, yes, I have to think about rotation,” Wenger said, reports the Express. “But we have to win at home – you know how it is when you don’t win at home, you have seen enough games.
“At least it is a new experience for us. We will take it seriously but the priority is to focus on the Premier League and combining the two and then in December we will see but, at least, we want to qualify for the next round.”
Losing at home usually results in the team being booed off the pitch. Even with a weakened line-up, fans will still expect a comfortable victory against Koln. With supporters already disgruntled following a poor start to the season, Wenger is evidently keen to win them back.
The Arsenal manager wants the fans onside and doesn’t want to exacerbate the situation any further by the Gunners suffering another defeat. That said, there’s the simple reality the Gunners have an early game on Sunday to prepare for as well, and that will undoubtedly have a bigger say in Wenger’s team selection.
The likes of Petr Cech, Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, Danny Welbeck and Alexandre Lacazette will likely be left out for Thursday’s meeting, with Sunday’s clash with Premier League defending champions Chelsea in mind.