Arsène Wenger says that the current schedule is a bit “cruel” for the Gunners, and thinks it could easily have been done better.
Arsenal played on Monday night against West Bromwich Albion. On Thursday, the Gunners play against BATE Borisov in Belarus, and then they return to England for an early kick-off on Sunday against Brighton.
Three games in under six days is a tough scenario for the club to navigate. Wenger said: “I have a decision to make [in terms of team selection for BATE Borisov]. But the schedule for us at the moment is a little bit cruel,” reports the Islington Gazette.
“We played tonight, we play in BATE Borisov on Thursday night. We play Sunday morning at 12 o’clock here. So when you look at the schedule I think there was some room for us to be a bit different but we have to accept it.
“We will go to Borisov with a team of senior players and certainly with a young bench, There is no need to talk to the Premier League about that because it is the television that decides [the fixtures].”
Wenger also referenced the Brighton & Hove Albion vs Newcastle United match, which could have been on the Monday instead, as those two teams have no European competition to worry about in midweek.
I feel Arsenal are lucky, in a sense, that the club have such a large squad at the moment, as well as a group of talented and motivated u23s ready to take every opportunity they get.
A number of those youngsters were left out of the academy match on Monday so they could presumably make the bench on Thursday as Wenger references above.
Meanwhile, players like Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, Alex Iwobi, Jack Wilshere and others were all either benched or rested completely against West Bromwich Albion, so they can all start.
But some players won’t be so lucky, and may have to play in all three outings. Hector Bellerín played Arsenal’s last Europa League match, so he could end up racking up a lot of minutes this week.
One or two of the centre-backs could suffer the same fate. All we can do now is hope they come through it all unscathed.