There will be three points to be won and a potential ascent to the summit of the group log to be attained, but Tuesday’s game at Galatasaray is perhaps, the most pointless game we are going to have to play this season. And there’ll be no urgency in prosecuting it to the limit of a pyrrhic victory.
Injuries have played a huge part in our season so far, and with all the goods secured, Wenger will gladly play a shuffled pack, preserving his dearest aces for more demanding conquests still ahead. The manager had warned that the conditions of some players would have to be managed so as to avoid burnout, the obvious stand out being Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean workhorse has been one of the stand-out players in all of England in terms work rate – the 1261 minutes he has played in all competitions is the highest for any outfield player in the Premier League. And though he has not showed any visible signs of wear, Wenger won’t let him tear a cable before being rested.
According to Wenger, on Arsenal.com:
“A few players [will not travel] because there’s not a lot at stake and we have given a lot in the last two weeks,We have to recover a little bit. Alexis will not travel”
The manger went on to add Laurent Koscielny to the list of those who will be absent for the game, as his full recovery from an Achilles injury continues to be managed and monitored.
“I don’t think I can play, for example, Koscielny. He didn’t play on Saturday and I don’t see why I should risk him for a game where’s there’s not a lot at stake.” Wenger said.
The Frenchman’s return was a huge comfort to the Arsenal defence last week against Southampton, helping us keep the threat of Koeman’s attacking team at bay, while restoring the preferred central pair with Mertesacker. Calum Chambers may now have another chance to redeem himself with the vice captain, having been implicated in the conundrum that led up to Stoke’s 20th second opener at the Britannia.
Wojciech Szczesny looks set to reclaim the goalkeeping slot from Emi Martinez. The 24-year old Polish International had been nursing an injury incured in the 2 – 1 home defeat to United. He was fit enough to make the bench last Saturday and will very likely be restored in Martinez’s place in preparation for the marathon of League games to come in the next three weeks, beginning with Newcastle at the weekend.
At right back, Mattiue Debuchy has fully joined in first team training and is expected to be fully involved against his former club on Saturday. Wenger may still consider it unnecessary to involve him in a game as this where nothing is at stake, hence another game for young Hector Bellerin.
While we don’t expect any breaking news on Arteta, Wilshere and Ozil, we remain grateful that we’re not yet down to the bare bones in midfield, with Flamini, Ramsey, Cazorla and Rosicky available for selection.
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